My Little Corner of Canada, March 29
Taxis, Drivers, Customers and Apex
This article is about taxi service in the capital of Nunavut and does not refer to other taxi services in other communities.
In Iqaluit, we have several taxi companies competing for our fares. The two main companies, Pai-pa and Caribou have been around the longest and have the most cars on the road.
They also have the most experienced drivers. Some independents have also been around for many years and have good drivers. It is the most recent companies that have the least experienced drivers.
By and large the taxi service in Iqaluit is okay. But, nothing is perfect and there are some problems.
The new drivers, who have the least knowledge of Arctic driving conditions, sometimes get into dangerous situations, especially during and after a blizzard. They also tend to be the ones who get distracted by their cell phones, texting, music, and eating.
Many of the new drivers we have come from places like Africa, the Middle East or other far-off places. Some of them have very little knowledge of Canadian traffic laws. They need better training before they are given a license to operate a taxi.
The best drivers are usually the oldest and most experienced. They know their customers, where things are, and are courteous and helpful.
Some customers are also guilty of not being very nice. It is usually the intoxicated customers who are sometimes unruly, insulting, abusive, and don’t pay their fares.
I haven’t had a car for several years and I live in Apex. I travel by taxi to get around the city.
As a result, I know almost all the taxi drivers in town.
I also have learned that taxi drivers don’t like going to Apex. They complain about the distance from town, the terrible road conditions during certain parts of the year, and the lower elders fare.
A lot of times, if they see someone who they know lives in Apex, they try to avoid us, ignore us, lock their doors or speed away. The newest drivers are usually the one who do this.
Iqaluit does not have a public transportation system like most cities in the south. Because of this, the taxi service is much more important to the community.