Gary Tarantino owns arguably the most valuable taxi in Vancouver, in an industry already known for its breathtakingly high licence values. Tarantino's Licence 70384 could easily command more than $1 million in a business where the average Vancouver taxi costs $800,000. That's because he is the last holdout of independent taxi owners in an industry where all of the other 687 licences are held by the city's four taxi companies.
The Passenger Transportation Board, which governs the taxi industry, lists Yellow Cabs, Blacktop/Checker Cabs, Vancouver Cabs and MacLure's, the city's oldest, as the operators of 588 full-time taxi licences. They also have 99 other "temporary operating permits" for weekend and peak service, of which 65 are active. All of the permits are held in the names of the taxi companies.
And then there is a single line in the PTB's books for the holder of Licence 70384, Gary Albert Tarantino. It is an anomaly left over after all other independent owners converted their licences into company shares in order to finance and consolidate a fractured taxi industry. That consolidation has helped stabilize a business buffeted by high operating expenses and