Which Toronto taxi company has the best service?
Is there a "best" Toronto taxi company? This question has been banging around my mind of late, ever since the company I normally go with made it a habit of showing up late (or not at all) when I ordered taxis over the holidays. Prior to this little hiccup, their punctuality had been exemplary. In the midst of sitting out in the cold waiting to be picked up, I began to wonder why I had chosen them in the first place. Was there a reason at all -- or was my customer loyalty merely a function of habit (and the fact that theirs was the only phone number I could remember)?
It didn't take too much thought to realize that it was the latter. My reliance on the company in question when ordering taxis was far more arbitrary than the selection process I use when hailing cabs out on the street (at least then it's first come, first hailed). But does it really matter? If all of the major cab companies provide roughly the same service, then it doesn't really matter which one I or anyone else chooses.
Of course, there's always the option of going with an Ambassador licensed cab -- the drivers of whom are put through more rigorous training than those with standard plates -- but being a collection of independent owner/operators, these cabs lack the centralized dispatch services offered by the big brokerage firms. So for now, I leave them out of the equation (I'll have different type of post on Ambassador cabs in the future).
Although even brokerage-owned Toronto cabs are regulated by the municipal government to some degree -- via taxi training (section 545 of the municipal code) and the passenger bill of rights -- there's certainly room for differences in the quality of service each company offers to arise. Perhaps the most obvious of these would be fleet size. Theoretically speaking, the larger the fleet, the less one should expect to wait when placing an order. But other factors like car maintenance/cleanliness, driver quality and general customer service are all factors that are tough to account for without sourcing information from a wide sample of passengers.
So, although the polling we do around here is less than scientific, for the sake of interest (and argument), I'd like to solicit a quick vote on the quality of service offered by the main Toronto taxi companies. They are: Beck (fleet = 1400+), Diamond (fleet=550+), Royal (fleet = 500+), Co-Op (fleet = 300+) and Crown (fleet = unknown).
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