By Steve Hubrecht

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Those looking for a ride in the Columbia Valley may soon have multiple options to get wheeling. 

It has been several years since the valley had regular taxi service, and even longer since there was any sort of regular hired rides in vehicles that weren’t specifically attached to local resorts.

In recent months, however, Invermere council has given its endorsement to three businesses (one taxi service, one shuttle service, and one limo service) applying for licences to operate from the province.

Council gave a thumbs up to Golden-based Mount 7 Taxis Ltd. back in early winter, although council members sounded notes of caution about whether the application truly intends to provide regular and frequent service or is meant merely to “hold onto territory.” Before that, council endorsed an application from Dara’s Dolphins Transportation Ltd. for a shuttle service. 

And finally in late January council approved an application for Leroy’s Limos to operate a limo service in the valley. While Mount 7 Taxis is based in Golden, both Dara’s Dolphins and Leroy’s Limos are based here in the Upper Columbia Valley.

Leroy’s Limos is run by Fairmont Hot Springs resident Lee Klas, and has two vehicles in its fleet: a 30-foot long Lincoln town car seating eight passengers and a 24-foot long Cadillac Presidential seating six passengers.

The endorsements from Invermere council are one step, but final approval for all ride services rests with provincial officials.

Invermere council and staff members were delighted with the increase in potential rides in any event.

“There’s not a lot of ride service in Invermere. The application (of Leroy’s) would be welcome (if successful with provincial authorities) as it would be a service the community needs” Invermere chief administrative officer Andrew Young explained to council members recently.

What exactly is the difference between a shuttle service, a limo service and a taxi service? The size and type of car. Beyond that the Pioneer sought an explanation from the provincial Passenger Transportation Board, but did not get one prior to press deadline.

Invermere councillor Gerry Taft cautioned that he’s not a transportation expert, but did offer a possible explanation, saying the classifications (taxi, shuttle, limo) may have to do with the capability to hail a ride as opposed to scheduling rides in advance.