People are speaking up after long taxi waits and difficulty getting through to dispatchers.
Frustration is mounting and patrons are desperately calling on the government to address the issue faster.
Sergio Umlas says it took more than an hour to hail down a cab last week.
He says getting through to a dispatcher can be a headache — sometimes taking 20 to 30 minutes.
“You just keep redialing, you eventually can get through. But they tell you it’s going to take a while,” he says.
“There are times, I just end up walking, especially when I’m in downtown Vancouver. It’s just crazy, just ludicrous in terms of obtaining one.”
Umlas says he’s forced to leave holiday parties early, just to catch public transportation to get home.
Par Vajihollahi echoes the same frustration.
“All three of my friends, we all called the three cab companies that are available in Vancouver at the same time and we were all on hold. One of them, their line just completely disconnected. The other two, we were on hold for about 45 minutes, and we still didn’t get through.”
Vajihollahi plans to dish out extra money for car service on New Years Eve to guarantee a ride home.
People are calling on the local and provincial government to work faster to bring in Uber.
The city of Vancouver approved an emergency motion last month to temporarily increase the number of taxis on the road this holiday season.
While Councillor Geoff Meggs admits it still doesn’t solve the shortage, he says there’s little the city can do.
“It’s not just a matter of rolling out some cars and hitting the road with them. They need to be properly qualified drivers and so forth. One of the limitations has been that the industry is stuck with this seasonal problem and it can’t really mobilize the cost and it can’t face the cost of such a short recovery time to put a cab on the road.”
Meggs says the city would rather see permanent licenses than temporary.
“There’s a regulatory gridlock right now with Victoria refusing to take forward applications from the Vancouver firms and a lot of litigation happening there that the city is not involved in.”
The province is currently looking at recommendations for legislative changes on ride-sharing.
“We don’t want to lose what we have with the taxi industry, but there’s big, big problems this time of year, especially on the weekends,” he says.
A report is due next spring.