Taking Games for a ride

If there were a power failure and a prolonged cold snap, would the Yukon public tolerate people charging $50 apiece for batteries? For a loaf of…

If there were a power failure and a prolonged cold snap, would the Yukon public tolerate people charging $50 apiece for batteries? For a loaf of bread? For a gallon of gas?

Nope.

It’s called profiteering — charging excessive prices for scarce, necessary or rationed goods.

And, generally speaking, society takes a dim view of it.

Except, of course, when Yukoners are offering services to the Canada Games.

Then it’s simply called business.

Take busing.

Games officials must ferry around athletes.

The event happens in a couple of months — thousands are coming, like it or not — and organizers need transport.

There’s one company capable of offering the service — Takhini Transport, a division of Watson Lake Bus Lines Co. Ltd.

It has the Canada Games over a barrel. And it knows it.

Through the year, it charges the government $75 an hour to drive Whitehorse students to school. That figure includes all its annual maintenance and upkeep on the buses.

That is, the figure is high because it reflects all the annual costs.

So, how much is the company charging to rent out its fleet during the Games, a windfall above and beyond its annual $2.6 million contract with the Education department?

Well, $85 an hour, of course.

According to Takhini’s general manager Pat Jamieson, the abrupt closure of the Cantung mine clobbered parent company Watson Lake Bus Lines.

Mines will do that to you.

Nevertheless, the company needs to make some cash. And the Games are a convenient, er, cow.

However, those in the industry suggest that absent the annual operating costs, up to $50 an hour would be fair.

So, the $85 figure represents a 70 per cent premium. For what? To assist a company hammered by a mine closure?

Well, the deal is still under negotiation.

In an odd twist, the bus company will tell the Games volunteers how many resources it needs to bus the athletes from the waterfront to the college.

It says it needs up to 50 buses.

Others with experience in the industry say it needs 18 — that calculation based on a seven-minute drive between the two points (we confirmed the drive ourselves — it came to six minutes and five seconds with one red light and a 30 km/h school zone rolled into the mix). With 18 buses, the first will be returning as the last is loaded.

The distance between the two estimates is significant.

Eighteen buses at $50 an hour would cost the Games $3,600. If the vehicles are rented at $85 an hour, the cost is $6,120.

Fifty buses — Takhini’s estimate — running for four hours at $85 an hour would cost the Games $17,000.

Sounds a bit extravagant.

Of course, the bus company is the only game in town. And so the negotiations continue.

One thing’s for sure: With the Games in town, Takhini Transport’s directors John Jamieson, president, and Said Secerbegovic, treasurer, are guaranteed gold. (RM)

Just Posted

Teachers’ Association president placed on leave following ‘serious’ allegations

‘I’m going to let the membership decide what it is that they want to do about this’

Air North announces new flight to Victoria

‘We hope the new route helps families connect with families’

Whitehorse council squabbles over Robert Service Campground repairs

‘Is it going to be Disneyland or something?’

Closing arguments underway in Darryl Sheepway murder trial

Defence lawyers began closing submissions Dec. 7

Is the Yukon government reducing its emissions? Nobody knows

‘Before we go out and put out any data, I want to make sure that it’s reliable’

Celebrating 40 years of celebrating Yukon’s history

This year the Yukon Historical and Museums Association marks a major milestone

All about recalls

If your ride is subject to a recalll, take it in right away

Whitehorse tyke hockey program embraces half-ice setup

‘If they’re on half-ice, they get to touch the puck’

Yukon Men’s Basketball League expands in fourth season

‘Come playoff time, guys get a little more intense and the skill level increases’

The very long term view on commodity prices

A Long-Run Version of the Bank of Canada Commodity Price Index is as hot a title as it sounds

Appeal court hears case of Old Crow woman who says sentence unfairly factored in marijuana use

Lena Josie’s lawyer says she was denied discharge on assault because of unrelated marijuana use

Council of Yukon First Nations hosts training for Gladue report writing

CYFN hopes the training will be ongoing help build a reserve of Gladue writers in the Yukon

Imagine that: Yukon’s cannabis debate has been reasonable

Politicians here haven’t said anything blatantly insane, uninformed or stupid. That’s a win

Most Read