Bumpy ride for cabbies
Times getting tougher for Yellowknife taxi drivers

by Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 16/97) - It's a tough job, and it's not getting any easier.

Cab drivers in Yellowknife have been the victim of theft, assault and proposed city bylaw changes in recent days that are making their difficult jobs even harder, said one taxi company manager.

John Seagrave, manager of City Cabs, said that the drivers work at least 10- to 12-hour days and have a plethora of problems to deal with.

"These guys go through so much, I can't believe it," he said.

"Their cabs are constantly broken into. And the majority of our drivers are new Canadians with limited education and English skills -- that makes their jobs even harder for them."

A cab was recently stolen from the downtown area and driven to the Dettah ice road where thieves left it, stuck in ice.

When the RCMP found the car, its transmission was damaged, the taxi sign on the roof was smashed and the radio missing.

No one has been arrested for the theft.

"This kind of damage could mean the value of the car," said Seagrave.

"Vandalism is a fairly common occurrence. We have numerous acts of damage to vehicles when they're parked."

The cab is reportedly the first cab to be stolen in Yellowknife.

Seagrave said that he's at a loss to know what to do about the drivers' problems. The proposed bylaw change -- which city council decided to hold off on Monday night -- in addition to the existing problems, is a double-whammy for drivers this week, he maintained.

"These guys are getting such a bumpy ride right now," he said.