City looking for a way to save a taxi service - why is it taking so long?

By Staff

November 25th, 2021



Most people have heard about the decision Burlington Taxi made to close their doors and their taxi service service effective Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 at 5 p.m.

City manager Tim Commisso, in a statement he released this morning, said: “Staff has been working on amendments to the bylaw to facilitate the temporary transition to another taxi service and will present this to Burlington City Council at the earliest opportunity.

Scott Wallace, proprietor of Burlington Taxi in conversation with former City Councillor Blair Lancaster.

“Council has directed staff to continue to take all necessary and reasonable measures to update bylaws and policies to create the conditions for the return of a taxi service to Burlington as soon as possible.

“On behalf of the City of Burlington, we would like to thank all Burlington Taxi staff, drivers and owners for their contribution and dedication to our community.”

For the significant number of people an “earliest opportunity” is just not good enough. Legal will putz and futz over the legalities while people worry about what is available to them in the way of transportation.

There are a lot of people who don’t like the Uber operation.

Getting the helicopter assembled and operational was one of the things Scott Wallace did for the city.

This is an issue that can and should be put at the top of the agenda – have an answer well before 5:00 pm on Friday so that Scott Wallace can take the steps needed to provide the service.

Both he and his staff have given back to Burlington in a big way for years. Time for the city to support him.

Few know that Scott could be found in Spencer Smith Park setting up some of the lights – he was the one who knew how to get the helicopter in place and working. Properly. Burlington is made up of people who give when it is needed – city hall could learn something from Scott’s example.

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11 comments to City looking for a way to save a taxi service – why is it taking so long?


    What’s in the bylaws that’s detrimental to running a taxi service?

  • Greg S

    What did we think waas going to happen? We’re subsidizing riding on Burlington Transit a huge amount, compeltely for some, and have Uber/Lyft growing constantly.

    How could they stay in business?

  • Mitch

    We need smarter ‘city staff’. This situation did not develop overnight. It’s time for the Council to cut the dead wood and hire some people who show drive, desire and determination.

    • Philip Waggett

      And perhaps more importantly, a new Mayor and Council who understand that they are there to SERVE THE RESIDENTS AND TAXPAYERS. Too often, this group, like so many politicians, seems to believe that we are there to serve them, too often pursuing their own priorities and agendas.

  • Allan H

    Yes Penny …Well said. BTW, Scott and Burlington Taxi were very much avid supporters of this community. When I was on the Christmas Parade Committee a few years back and volunteered to be their fund raising person sponsor, Scott would cheerfully dig into his pockets to assist us and on top of would drive his double ended taxi in the parade to the joy of all the kids looking on.
    Something to help him must be done IMMEDIATELY…

  • 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

    WHY did the City not accept the proposal made by Burlington Taxi for Hamilton Cab to take over at least for an interim period? Doing this would have meant that the city was not left without any taxi service.

    According to the announcement made by Burlington Taxi in closing it mentions that Scott Wallace had been trying to work with the City since 2018.

    Now, in 2021 the City Manager is quoted as saying “Council has directed staff to continue to take all necessary and reasonable measures to update bylaws and policies to create the conditions for the return of a taxi service to Burlington as soon as possible.”

    What is considered “as soon as possible “to get this done”?

    Once again city staff seems to have dropped the ball and are “late to the party” and scrambling to “update bylaws and policies” What were they doing from 2018-2021? Was council notified of this request in 2018? If not, why not?

    If the city is so ” senior friendly” ( we love our seniors) they should have put the contract with Burlington Taxi into their transit fund which at the very least would have protected vulnerable seniors who need this service to get to medical appointments.

    Was the Senior Advisory Committee ever consulted about this? I doubt it, as these advisory committees have absolutely no autonomy. “Advisory” says it all. These committees are a make work project for residents to feel that by they can make changes. No changes are made without Council approval.

    The most recent “fiasco” was the money spent after the last election to make the Advisory Committees more effective, and the city more transparent. Jim Young and Roland Tanner, along with others, worked diligently to come up with suggestions. After much time and effort their report that was to be presented to council for vote was removed from the agenda, very last minute, never to be seen again.

    I, for one was not surprised that this report went nowhere. After sitting on the Senior Advisory Committee, I would have been shocked if Council would have allowed these changes to occur. It would have meant giving up some control .

    Something smells off to me. Somewhere there is a funding issue, not just an updating of by-laws, and policies. There’s money for rainbow sidewalks and benches and other foolish things but not for this???

    • Howard

      Penny, I like what you write most of the time. Your comments hit the target on this report as well. Where I disagree with this commentary is your inference of the city’s control on a private company. Apologies if you did not want to go down that rabbit hole but that is the sentiment I see. The city props up the Handivan service by increasing staff and busing for the people that qualify. ( senior/vulnerable) Bylaws…does that mean licensing fees? Uber is a viable option for any that do not qualify for Handivan. The city undertook the option to offer free transit to seniors. How far should the city go. As a common tax payer knowing everyone deserves a piece of the pie, I HOPE council does not buy up the Burlington Taxi franchise and operate it under a “mobility strategy” which will play into the MMW wheel house.
      Lastly…..Advisory committees = lip service for politicians

  • Alide Camilleri

    As a senior I find it horrendous that there will be no reliable taxi service available to me. Uber is not a solution for seniors who have health issues of one kind or another. City Hall must act fast to get a trained taxi service established.