Jen Zielinski

Jen Zielinski

Behind the wheel: Taxi driving as a career

A three part series on the taxi industry in Kelowna

Four years ago when Noel Gill came to Kelowna from Calgary, the last thing he expected to be doing was running his own business.

As a former waiter, hotel manager and service industry employee anticipated he would jump into the Okanagan’s tourism hub. However, when he arrived job prospects weren’t looking great and he took an opportunity do something he never thought of before — cab driving.

He worked for two years with one company before switching to another local Kelowna taxi organization.

“Within the first year with the company I had the opportunity to become an owner [of a taxi],” said Gill. “Now, I own two cars and I have about five employees and it’s given me the confidence to be a small business owner.”

Now, Gill is reaching out to let residents know who exactly is behind the wheel of the taxis in Kelowna.

He also wants to quell any rumours about the taxi industry, as this is a career for him that centres around customer service.

“It’s like being a waiter, a table at a time or a trip at a time,” he said.

Gill said the best part of driving is not only that he gets to meet interesting new people or run his own business, he sometimes even gets to live out a little past dream.

Years ago, the now 35-year-old wanted to be a singer, today he gets to have fun driving around with passengers singing songs by Michael Bublé or Ed Sheeran — with many recognizing him as the singer cab driver.

“I always have so much fun.”

His company has an array of drivers from 30-year-old women to 25-year-old former hockey players, and anyone one of them could become an entrepreneur and own a car.

“It’s catered to entrepreneurs,” Gill explained. “If there is anyone out there that is good with people and wants to try something new give us a call and we will get you started.”

Contact Gill at Checkmate Cabs.

READ MORE: B.C. to allow Uber-style ride hailing services to operate in late 2019

READ MORE: B.C. to add hundreds of taxis, delays Uber, Lyft-style service again

This story is one of a three part series, titled Behind the wheel, a look at whose driving business in Kelowna.

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