Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward is characterizing the loss of the city’s main taxi service as a “huge” after the community’s 53-year-old event closes for good on Friday.
“These have been a difficult few days for our community; We are all saddened by the news of the closure of Burlington Taxi, ”Ward said in a statement Wednesday.
“This is a huge loss to a long-standing business in our city and a decades-long community partner that supported many local charities.”
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City staff learned of the closure two weeks ago and have been working to find some sort of temporary transition to another taxi service.
Ward 4 Coun. Shawna Stolte, who has been working on the soon-to-be-gone taxi service since its announcement, said in a statement that the service put an option on the table to transition to an alternative taxi business outside of Burlington.
However, legislative requirements became an obstacle to that possibility.
“The statute amendments and legal considerations necessary to make this happen successfully by November 30 were not going to result in the best possible service transition for Burlington residents,” Stolte said.
The city closure revealed that it is linked to the recent labor shortage incurred amid the pandemic along with the financial impacts of COVID, dramatic increases in vehicle insurance rates, and the impact of ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft in the taxi transport industry.
“The council has directed staff to continue to take all necessary and reasonable steps to update the statutes and policies to create the conditions for the return of taxi service to Burlington as soon as possible,” said City Manager Tim Commisso in an email.
Commisso and the city council say they hope to present some kind of solution in December to close the expected gap in service.
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