Niagara Falls Taxi
I had my first contact (other than being a passenger maybe) with Niagara Falls Taxi in 1986.
I had being working for the NTSC the previous couple of years and, as usual, my boss laid me off in October for the season. I then went for a Bicycle Ride. After the winter had passed and I was getting ready to return to work, my then boss informed me he had decided to no longer operate a bus, but was going to contract out the work. I was unemployed.
He did, however, introduce me to Mary Chapman of Niagara Falls Taxi, Limited. They owned Red Carpet Tours.
After some negotiations, Mary and I came to an agreement, and I went to work as the only driver for Red Carpet Tours. I had now been introduced to Niagara Falls Taxi, Limited.
In October of 1987, Mary's husband, Tom Chapman, had passed away. He was a shareholder in Niagara Falls Taxi and owned a car in the taxi fleet. Mary tried to sell me his taxi business.
Now I'm not what I would consider superstitious. On Aug 8th, 1988, Mary and I came to an agreement. I wasn't even sure I wanted to be in the taxi business. What was the superstition? Well, someone brought it to my attention later; I had purchased Car number 8, on the 8th day, of the 8th month, of the 88th year. They told me eight is suppose to be the number of new beginnings. Well for me, it was something new. I was a bus driver for twenty years, never a taxi driver.
I didn’t actually drive the taxi for several months. I only was the owner of it. I had drivers that were already driving the taxicab before I was the owner and they just stayed on. I couldn’t even say at the beginning what they were driving. Someone might ask me what I had purchased, and I would tell them, “A taxicab.” They might ask what color it was. I’d have to say, “I don’t know. It’s a taxicab.” They might ask what make of vehicle it was. I’d have to say, “I don’t know. It’s a taxicab.” They might ask how old was it, or how many miles (kilometers) were on it. I’d have to say, “I don’t know. It’s a taxicab.” Who were the drivers, where is it kept, or maybe, what condition is the body in? In each case I’d have to say, “I don’t know. It’s a taxicab.” What I had purchased was a taxicab business.
Mary had made me a really good deal, and although I never thought I’d be interested on being in this thing called a taxi business, I decided I had to take the deal and give it a try. Fifteen years later, I was still in the taxi business.
At one point, after I was driving in the winter months, very part time, Mary approached me and told me the shareholders decided the company needed a public relations and advertising department. Mary wanted to know if I might be interested in being the entire department. I would go out and solicit new business, analyze what I was learning from the potential customers, and set up an advertising program to take advantage of what was learned. I would only need to put in twelve to fifteen hours in each week. I decided to accept the job, after thinking about it a short while.
I made the rounds to visit motels, restaurants, and other places I was sure would have potential guests and future customers for Niagara Falls Taxi. After a couple of months of doing this, giving Mary my reports, which didn’t seem to change from week to week, I resigned the position. Mary asked me to keep trying, but I suggested it might be a waste of money.
The problem I was constantly discovering was the impression that Niagara Falls Taxi was not a service oriented operation. I kept suggesting to Mary that the company create and implement a driver standard to assure the guest the utmost of service. The shareholder attitude was they were doing fine and maybe I should resign as maybe I just couldn’t do the task assigned to me. I agreed with them and went my merry way.
Niagara Falls Taxi hired someone else to replace me. The position didn’t last six months. The ‘department’ was closed.
In 1996, Casino Niagara was opened in December. The Casino allowed both, then existing, taxi companies to pick up and discharge their passengers. The Casino had done their own research and had determined prior to the opening that there was not a quality taxi company in Niagara Falls. They said they would see which company would ‘spruce’ up their service and then maybe be the company of service. Niagara Falls taxi could have been the company of choice if they had already been service and quality minded.
Niagara Falls Taxi had general shareholder meetings several times each year as needed. In June of each year, a meeting is held and a Board Of Directors is elected. The Board has five positions. There is an elected President, a Vice President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and a Director.
On June 26th, 2002, I, Harvey Gordon, was elected as the Vice President of Niagara Falls Taxi. This position lasted for one year.
On June 25th, 2003, I was then elected as President of Niagara Falls Taxi. This is the year the trouble began for my fallout with Niagara Falls Taxi. The story will be told later.
On June 23rd, 2004, I was again elected to the position of Vice President. My interest at this time was still for the betterment of Niagara Falls Taxi.
On June 15th, 2005, I was not elected to any position on the Board of Niagara Falls Taxi. The shareholders felt I was in defiance of bending to the Casino’s wishes. The shareholders felt I was a detriment to the company as long as I was on the Board.
In order to keep things in a chronological order, the newly elected President was Janeese, and the Vice President was Lou (I will omit any last names here to protect the guilty as there is more to tell later). In February of 2006, both the new President and Vice President resigned to go off and start their own taxi company, but then that’s another story.