By Steve Hubrecht

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Taxi service may be coming back to Invermere after an absence of several years. 

Golden-based Mount 7 Taxis Ltd. has applied to the provincial passenger transportation board for a  licence to operate three taxis in Invermere and surrounding area.

Invermere gave its backing to the approval, but sounded a note of caution. 

Councillor Gerry Taft noted that Mount 7 previously held a licence from the passenger transportation board for taxis in Invermere, but had stopped providing service.

“Unfortunately it’s an informal sort of monopoly situation,” said Taft, outlining that the passenger transportation board typically only approves one licence for taxi service in small, rural towns such as Invermere.

“Do they intend to provide service again?” queried Taft. “This could be a renewal of a licence just to essentially ‘hold on to territory’ to prevent someone else from getting a licence . . . we need taxi service. Whether it’s Mount 7 or someone else, I don’t care. But if this is a renewal without intent to provide regular and consistent service, that’s not good.”

Taft asked if there was any way to find out a timeline of Mount 7’s proposed start of service, and suggested that Invermere’s support of the application should perhaps be contingent on just how soon Mount 7 plans to have taxis here and what their service will look like.

Invermere planner Rory Hromadnik outlined that Mount 7 will also need an Invermere business licence, in addition to the passenger transportation board licences. 

But he noted that the Invermere business licence is fairly straightforward and, if papers are in order, can be quickly obtained in a matter of hours. 

The passenger transportation board licence, on the other hand, takes much longer to get, he explained.

Hromadnik said it was unlikely that the passenger transportation board knows any of the background on the application, and that it likely has no idea that Mount 7 previously held a taxi licence for Invermere but stopped service.

In the end council members agreed to write the passenger transportation board and outline that they support the application so long as there is clear intent to provide regular service for the duration of the licence.

“It is important to get that service in Invermere again,” said councillor Kayja Becker, who was acting as mayor at the meeting.