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Cabs quickly taken off St. John's region roads as conditions worsen

The taxi industry could face additional screening if the City of St. John's is successful in lobbying the provincial government for more checks.

The sounds of phones ringing could be heard when talking to Corey White.

As dispatcher for City Wide cabs in St. John's, he's been busy answering calls from people needing a ride to get somewhere.

But callers were out of luck, as the company pulled all its taxis off the road at around 10 a.m., White said.

"I haven't stopped answering calls here all morning. There's 15 lines lit up here now," he said. "This one needs to get to work, this one's daughter needs to go somewhere, and there have been lots of calls form people wanting to get out to get their methadone.

"But we just can't. It's just too bad out there."

It's one of most companies that have shut down Friday as a snowstorm the likes of which few have experienced, started its attack on the city in the early morning hours. A state of emergency has been called for the area after forecasters are predicting up to 70 cms of snow will get dumped, while winds will gust up to 160 km/hr.

White said City Wide had one driver working Friday morning, but as conditions worsened, it was decided he would call it quits for the day.

"One fella had an all-wheel drive, but even he couldn't get around," White said. "All the roads are too bad. For safety reasons, it was best he come off the road."

White said he was, "just being polite" answering phones, but he plans to head home by early afternoon.

"I'm just going to hunker down here for a while," he said. "I just hope I can get home."

Calls weren't answered at many other taxi companies, including Jiffy Cabs and Newfound Cabs, while a voice recording at Red and Yellow Cabs said, "Sorry we missed your call. Please call again." Several other calls there resulted in getting the same recording.

The dispatcher did answer the phone at Bugden's Taxi, but didn't want to be identified. He said they had one driver operating Friday morning, but that changed about around 10 a.m. when he got stuck near the Ramada Inn.

"We're getting lots of calls, but the roads are not fit," he said. "Even the main through fairs aren't good. Once that happens, there's no sense to be out there."

Twitter: @TelyRosie

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