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