Burlington Taxi did everything it could to continue to serve the public

By Pepper Parr

November 27th, 2021



In an interview done by Lawson Hunter on a blog he runs called Burlington Now Scott Wallace gave a very complete outline of just how the business he has run since he was a 19 year old unraveled.

Uber was what he called the first of a thousand cuts but he managed to reorganize the way his fleet of 55 cars + special vehicles used to transport students and still be profitable.

Burlington Taxi was able to pivot and challenge the Uber business model but then Covid19 hit the world and all the wheels stopped rolling.

Then Covid19 hit and to this day he has not been able to recover. First there was no traffic – or not enough to remain at breakeven; then when people began to want to use taxis he could not recruit the drivers.

The people he had just did not want to work in a Covid 19 environment.

Then there was the matter of insurance. There was a time explained Wallace when there was a reasonably competitive insurance market but that changed.

Consolidation in the taxi market result in sky rocketing rates that went from $5000 a year per car up to $18,000 per year per car.

That just wasn’t sustainable and the decision to close the business and move was made.  The last cab run ended at 5:00 pm on Friday.

Wallace did keep the city informed and did have a proposal for them to consider.

The city just wasn’t able to make the change within the time frames required.

Unfortunately the city has not been as forthcoming with what happened within city hall as Wallace has been with what he had to cope with for the past two years as he watched his money disappear trying to run a needed service.

Wallace has another business he runs and he will survive. He told Lawson Hunter that were he 35 he might have looked for ways to make it work but he isn’t 35 anymore.

Despite his age, (he is a very healthy mid fifties guy) and even wth the business he was struggling to keep operational Scott Wallace found time to help the Festival of Lights people put up the lights. His specialty was the helicopter – he was the person that put it together each year and fiddled with it until the lights came on.

Keep him in mind when you take the time to tour the Festival this year – he put a lot of himself into this city

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4 comments to Burlington Taxi did everything it could to continue to serve the public

  • Penny Hersh

    Hilary, I volunteered at the Food Bank and some of the people coming were given taxi vouchers by the church as they had no way of getting to the food bank and taking the food home.

    I agree that all residents, not only seniors, are affected by not having this service. Last evening, watching the Special Meeting of Council, Doug Brown, a resident delegated. He mentioned that shift workers who do not have cars use the taxi service to get them home when Burlington Transit does not operate. I had never thought about this.

    I agree that there were circumstances beyond anyone’s control that contributed to the lack of drivers and people not getting into taxis. The failure of the city to act on a directive dated May 10, 2018 to look into changing the taxi by-laws did not help. Are you aware that the current by-law states that the driver must live in Burlington to be able to drive a taxi in Burlington ( this was mentioned in the Special Council Meeting last evening).

    As for the Holiday Market, etc. it is up to the individual to decide if they want to go in an area with many people, most probably not wearing masks.

  • Lisa Cooper

    I spoke to the owner of Burlington taxi when I was campaigning, I blame a lot of this on the City in my own opinion, not his. They should have been working with the owner to make it easier for him to keep his services going. Whereas his service needed to pay for taxi licenses insurance etc, he was competing with Uber who had no such obligations and people wonder why he went out of business.

  • Penny Hersh

    It is out in the public that a there was a directive signed by Mayor Goldring to the CHAIR and Members of the Committee of the Whole dated April 27, 2018 that stated” STAFF DIRECTION: TAXI LICENSING BY-LAW.

    “Review and consider the request to allow a taxi license to be affixed to a vehicle owned bay a third party and report back in JULY 2018.”

    There was an accompanying letter by Scott Wallace outlining what was needed.

    The city and the past council obviously dropped the ball. Presently on this council there are 2 members that sat on the last council, past councillor Marianne Meed-Ward and Paul Sharman. Both have been extremely quiet on this issue. Other than saying they knew nothing about this until 2 weeks ago.

    This is more than a business not being able to survive Covid, it is much more. A taxi service is essential for many seniors and others to get to medical appointments, food banks, etc.

    The media coverage from city hall seems in my opinion to be, stay quiet, say nothing, admit no wrong doing and hope that IT BECOMES YESTERDAY’S NEWS.

    Do you think that the people who require this service will think IT IS YESTERDAY’S NEWS. Is this really “the best city to live in” that is put at the end of any and every bulletin etc. that comes from City Hall?

    Residents need to make certain that this does not BECOME YESTERDAY’S NEWS, vulnerable people need this not to happen.

    • Hilary Durrant

      I really feel for Scott Wallace, he was an entrepreneur with his taxi business and his other side line, thankfully that will help him keep solvent.
      However, there are a number of reasons why his taxi business has collapsed.
      Firstly, the way licenses were changed, then came the insurance companies who raised their fees to exorbitant prices. Thirdly, he lost his drivers as they were no prepared to be in a vehicle and catch Covid, that you cannot fault the drivers for. Lastly, and very importantly the general public did not use his taxis. That’s you and me.
      Penny states that that ‘many seniors and others to get to medical appointments, food banks, etc’. Sorry Penny, it is all citizens young adults to seniors who use taxis. Mind you, I doubt people who are unfortunate enough to have to go to foodbanks would be able to afford a taxi.
      Besides the last group, we are all to blame for businesses like this going under.
      So, let’s not pass the buck completely onto the Council. Treat yourself use a taxi to the Festival, the Holiday Market or out for a meal (while we can). Otherwise, one day you or me will need a taxi and they will be gone.