News / Calgary

Lawsuit launched in demise of Calgary's Black Top Taxi Company

Months after Black Top Taxi Company took its final Calgary fare, the organization is launching a $2-million lawsuit against a former driver, accusing him of spearheading a "campaign of misrepresentation and falsehoods."

Documents obtained by Metro indicate Black Top Taxi Company Ltd. and manager Baljinder Bhullar filed the action against Rajiv Kapil, head of the Calgary Cab Drivers Association, last month.

Black Top was the third-largest taxi operator in the city when it ceased operations in May, just as the city was planning to launch a review hearing of fees being charged by the broker to drivers.

Kapil, who drove for Black Top, emailed an initial complaint against the company, claiming he'd been forced to pay $7,000 on top of standard fees to retain his company-owned license.

Black Top now alleges Kapil defamed the company and Bhullar specifically in an email to the city livery transport services manager.

"As a result of the aforementioned misrepresentations of the defendant, taxi drivers were reluctant to purchase plates, costing Black Top loss of opportunity and loss of business," the claim reads.

The 76 licenses owned by Black Top were sold off to other remaining brokers in Calgary — Associated, Checker, Mayfair, Delta and three-car outfit Advance, which has brought Kapil on, according to the city.

City chief livery services officer Marc Halat said Black Top's end did little — if anything — to harm local taxi service and officials actually began witnessing a decrease in wait times over the Christmas holidays.

A formal report on the improvements will go before city council later this year, Halat said, preventing him from disclosing too much detail.

"We are seeing significant improvements," he said. "We have got everybody onboard working to improve service."

Reached Monday, Kapil declined to discuss details of the lawsuit pending against him but said he intends to co-operate.

Bhullar could not be reached for comment.

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