MLA looking into issue of taxis avoiding Iqaluit’s Apex neighbourhood

Some Iqalummiut shared concerns about taxi service in the city on social media; Caribou Cabs investigating complaints

Iqaluit resident Veronica Dewar said taxi drivers in the city have often refused to take her to the Apex neighbourhood where family members live. For older residents like herself, she said the experience has been challenging, especially in the winter. (File photo)

By Meral Jamal

Residents who have been refused taxi service to and from the Apex neighbourhood in Iqaluit are being asked to speak up.

Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu MLA P.J. Akeeagok put a call out on his Facebook page Feb. 18, asking residents who have been refused taxi service in and out of Apex to share their experiences. (File photo)

Premier P.J. Akeeagok, in his role as MLA for Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu which includes Apex, put out a call on his Facebook page Feb. 18, asking those who have been refused a ride in and out of Apex to share their experience.

Veronica Dewar, an elder who often visits family in the neighbourhood, was one of the residents to reply on Facebook.

She said taxi drivers in Iqaluit have often refused to take her to Apex, adding that the problem is not new.

For older residents like herself, she said the experience is especially challenging. Sometimes, she’s had to walk to her next location.

“It is kind of frustrating for me,” Dewar told Nunatsiaq News.

“[When] you’re an elder and you’re vulnerable, [taxi drivers] can take advantage of you if you’re not outspoken and able to talk to them properly.”

According to Dewar, taxis refusing to take Iqalummiut to and from Apex is especially difficult during the winter when “it’s very hard for people trying to get home.”

“All the online [comments] made are very true,” she said. “It’s not right, and I think it comes down to really a human right.”

Caribou Cabs is the biggest taxi company in Iqaluit.

Ronnie McGregor, its administrator, said the company is aware of complaints made by residents and that Akeeagok is looking into them.

As part of a disciplinary measure, he said Caribou Cabs has reached out to one resident who was refused taxi service to Apex in recent weeks.

McGregor said the company has responded to complaints by reviewing footage from the cameras fitted into cabs, and ensuring all cab drivers are aware they must serve all parts of the city moving forward.

“As soon as we get complaints, we do take action — whether it’s regarding Apex or any other complaints.”

Caribou Cabs representatives hope to meet with Akeeagok over the next week to discuss the concerns as well, McGregor said.

Dewar said along with ensuring better taxi service in Iqaluit, she wants to see the city bring back the bus service to Apex it provided close to 20 years ago.

The City of Iqaluit used to run a bus service for residents between 2003-2005, operating across neighbourhoods including Apex, Lower Iqaluit and Happy Valley at the time.

Due to high costs and low ridership, the service was cancelled in January 2005.

For Dewar, who said the city’s population has grown immensely since then, “the bus service is much-needed.”

Akeeagok was not available for an interview in time for publication.

Residents interested in sharing their experience regarding taxi service to and from Apex in Iqaluit can reach out to Akeeagok via his constituency email address.

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(34) Comments:

  1. Posted by 867 on

    Funny I use to live in apex and never had a problem getting a cab. Maybe she wasn’t paying them

    • Posted by achoo on

      You personally never had a problem, so the problem doesn’t exist and the complainant must have done something bad to deserve such treatment. ?

    • Posted by Funny, not funny on

      Because YOU never experienced it, it doesn’t exist?! Right, I get you now. 867 = 0

      • Posted by Northern Guy on

        Relax Funny. This entire thing is being based on anecdotal hearsay with no supporting context from either the cab company or the affected residents. That makes 867’s viewpoint as valid as anyone else’s.

  2. Posted by A Little Torn on

    I’m torn on this. I feel for the Taxi company as much as those who can’t get service. I agree that bus service would be ideal.

    • Posted by 867 on

      Bus service failed because nobody wanted to walk 10 min in the freezing cold to wait another 10-15 min for a bus only to get dropped off a 5-10 min walk from their destination. Taxi is the only option for the north. Heard rankin and Cambridge both tried busses and they failed almost as soon as they started too. Same reason! This isn’t south we can’t have bus services

      • Posted by Iqaluit Mom on

        The bus failed because of low ridership and a lack of bus shelters for inclement weather. The population has increased, and given the possibility that taxis might be an even longer wait, buses are more feasible now. The city just needs a consistent schedule so people dont have to wait so long.

        • Posted by Evie Thordarson on

          I remember when I was a young adult in Winnipeg, Manitoba who gets very cold winters as well in those days we had heated bus shelters there is no reason that Iqaluit can’t try to utilize these types of bus shelters. But then again the homeless would be taking over the bus shelters.

      • Posted by 2023 on

        With modern technology today the bus can be shown in real time with a simple phone app. You could book the bus with your smart phone as you currently do with cabs and the bus could stop at your house number. Simple.

  3. Posted by Keep Them Honest on

    The issue we have with poor taxi service seems to be an issue with oligopoly/monopoly just like our terrible airline and internet provider.

    I think a bus is a great idea. We have enough pedestrians now and our infrastructure seems like it might become even less pedestrian friendly (the four way stop being a prime example; walk in the ditch peasants) so I have little doubt that a bus line or two would see significant use. I own a car but walk everywhere, every day; I would use a bus. And I’m far from the only one.

    A bus line would also provide competition at a lower cost to the consumer and as a result should incentivize our taxi operators to be better.

    It’s also time to legislate meters and and stop unwilling taxi sharing. Mass transit is supposed to come at a discount to the user so if there is a stranger riding in my cab my ride should cost less. Like everywhere else.

  4. Posted by Aputi on

    Two legs and a heartbeat, stop crying man had to walk to airport from apex n didn’t complain the new generation is always complaining

    • Posted by willch on

      Wow. Your compassion and empathy must make you a real asset to the community.

    • Posted by Evie Thordarson on

      No one should have to walk to the airport period Iqaluit is the capital city of Nunavut Territory start acting the part. No transportation from Apex to the downtown core is just appalling. Perhaps Rankin Inlet should have been the capital instead of Iqaluit at least our cabs picked up people in all areas without prejudice.

    • Posted by Umingmak on

      An elder is the “new generation”? Huh?

  5. Posted by Flabbergasted on

    That’s good. Our mla for kugluktuk has nothing….nothing to look into know why ? He is that way never look into anything that is widely needed especially for our young population- just look forward to a paycheck , what and why did we even vote for such .?

    • Posted by ? on

      Disgruntled much? Jealous? This post has nothing to do with kugluktuk. Bobby is a good man with a big heart. Posting this kind of cr*p doesn’t help anyone.

    • Posted by Caribou on

      The MLA for Kugluktuk has been farily active on the Caribou Management topic.

      • Posted by Vegetarian on

        I don’t eat caribou

    • Posted by John WP Murphy on

      Perhaps you can explain why two people, who offered taxi service in Kugluktuk, yet do not provide it anymore.
      Perhaps you can start a taxi business here and see how long you last.
      Operating a business is not easy and it needs to be profitable.

  6. Posted by Try me on

    When I heard about this a few times over the last year by different people each time I take a cab to Apex I just hope one of them trys to say no. I love the age of cameras and videos. Also if someone even grumbles about it I dont tip at all. but I know it is far so normally I give them $10. particularly if I am the only one in the cab. if they pick up others then I dont feel so bad.

  7. Posted by lazy drivers on

    Losing an extra passenger or two makes some or many of the drivers hesitate a lot of the time. I wonder how they are paid. I lived in Apex recently but often go into visit family and there is often hesitancy of the drivers as mentioned in those online comments. I see elders rejected by taxi drivers driving off quickly when they see one at the store entrance or elsewhere. However, I would like to add that there have been four people in the past week who entered the cab I was in at different times who went to the Elks, Legion (2) and one going to RTN from the Storehouse who did not pay (somewhat intoxicated and was asked to show $ but didn’t), He got dropped off near the RCMP. My buddy from Apex and I walked down the steps from the Frob and went to the cab cause he didn’t come over (my buddy later said, he was watching to see if we were staggering). He saw us and ignored us (I am an elder). I tip drivers often. There is often a look of disdain on a driver’s face when I say I am going to Apex or Tundra Valley.

  8. Posted by Arnaq on

    I would like my MLA to focus on bigger issues than this. For instance, I changed jobs in the GN over a year ago. In my previous job I received an Inuktitut language proficiency allowance for Level 3 competence. When I received my new job offer, the letter did not advise me that I would have to re-take my language competency test and re-apply for the allowance on submitting evidence that I hadn’t somehow lost my language during all the years I had been using it in my previous job. When I didn’t receive my Inuktitut language allowance, I found out I had to re-take the test, be re-evaluated and re-apply for the allowance submitting my test results. I re-took the test and no one from Inuktitut Evaluation followed up despite several inquiries. I still don’t have my test results so I cannot submit them with my application for the language allowance. I’ve been in my new job so long it’s no longer a new job. I vet translations daily, I provide service in Inuktitut to Inuit regularly and I could not do my current job so well without Inuktitut proficiency. Yet I receive no language allowance and haven’t for almost 2 years. I know this came up in the Leg last sitting but nothing has changed. If they are short-staffed they should make accommodations for those who are not being paid an allowance they are entitled to under their Collective Agreement. Here are my suggestions: (1) Don’t bother going to your union – they are comprised mainly of white unilingual men who don’t give____ , trust me, I know. To prove the point – have you seen any media statements from either the NTA or the NEU speaking up for their Inuktitut speaking membership? (2) If an Inuk has proven language competency once, at a certain level, don’t make them be re-evaluated on changing jobs unless they want to prove they are now at a higher level of competence (3) Back date all payments that have not been received by Inuit while waiting for their test results (4) HR – do a better job of informing Inuit of their rights in their job offer letters and support them to get what is their due (5) Inuit! Just because it was raised in the Leg doesn’t mean it was fixed – keep fighting even when life seems a constant fight for some and (6) NTI where are you? Why do you not speak up for GN beneficiaries on this?

    • Posted by oh? on

      If the GN were to truly be an inuktitut-serviced government, it would make more sense to normalize inuktitut and have zero language bonus. This is as silly as paying french speakers in a quebec government because they speak the official language. And I’m pretty sure MLA’s have more important issues to deal with than your language bonus.

      • Posted by Putting this out there on

        What should be done is there should be GN run classes in all communities for all employees that aren’t proficient in Inuktitut (i know finding teachers would be a problem). and if you are not going to the classes and making progress you and your department is fined (this $ goes into more training Nunavut wide).
        Basically there needs to be a “you dont speak Inuktitut Tax” make it $50/ paycheck. There will be those that dont care and they pay the price, but it would provide funding that would then allow hired GN Paid Inuktitut teachers (hopefully in all communities).

        • Posted by How clueless on

          Among the dumbest ideas seen in the NN comments in ages, this would almost certainly be illegal too.

        • Posted by John K on

          This is a terrible idea!

          I’m Inuk, born in Frobisher Bay and don’t speak Inuktitut.

          Me and my hard earned talent and qualifications would be out of here ASAP. And best of luck filling my desk.

    • Posted by Umingmak on

      Your demand to be paid extra to speak another language is not more important than the need for elders to have reliable taxi service.

  9. Posted by Flip on

    Here we go again with the bus talk. We have now tried it twice and it doesn’t work. The only way a bus service will survive here is to operate at least 4 buses simultaneously with a transfer system. One bus cannot cater to our sprawling population. It simply doesn’t work and it has been proven. So to summarize, we need at least 4 buses with one to spare ,to compensate for mechanical issues. Consistency is key in the success of any business, especially with public transportation. These buses need to generate enough money for insurance, gasoline and constant maintenance. Bottom line, NOT FEASIBLE. After all, we can’t even afford to pave the roads they’ll drive on.

  10. Posted by John W Paul Murphy on

    What is really dumb about this article, is that an MLA and the LA are involved in the first place.
    Taxi services and licensing are a municipal responsibility.

    • Posted by Umingmak on

      It seems that you don’t understand how politics works. An MLA’s job is to advocate for their constituents, period.

      • Posted by John W Paul Murphy on

        It is their job not to interfere in areas outside of their jurisdiction and one would expect our Premier of all people would understand that, unlike yourself.

  11. Posted by Cabbie on The Street on

    If you can’t get the taxis to do what you want, throw some rocks. DUH

    • Posted by Alaskan on

      Nice, that one made me laugh!!!

  12. Posted by Batman on

    I believe in Harvey Dent.


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