Christina Audley was nursing her baby on her couch in front of the picture window of her family’s Langley City house on the morning of Feb. 7 when someone started throwing rocks at the house.
It’s not the first time the family has felt under attack.
“I don’t need to be scared in my own house,” she said.
That was the final straw for the young mother who contacted her local newspaper with Black Press Media after efforts to work through channels failed.
A year ago, Audley, her husband, and their children moved into a house in a light industrial area of the City, thrilled to have a yard for the kids.
But the house used to be the home of Aldergrove-Langley Taxi which is now based in Surrey.
Audley said they have endured about 15 instances of people harassing them, thinking they are at the cab company address.
“Right from the get-go we’ve been having people come to the door,” she said.
When people Google the taxi firm, they get the older address that is now her family home.
The rock throwing incident has been the most violent but the incidents all relate to people showing up demanding their possessions back. Audley and the children are the ones most often at home when they occur. Her four children range in age from eight weeks old to seven years old.
The young mother said the people showing up at the door are swearing and angry, claiming they left a cellphone or other valuables with the cabbies when they can’t pay for the rides.
Audley said her family has put up signs that the taxi company is not longer at that address, but people have ripped them down.
She added that they’ve contacted the RCMP but were told nothing can be done unless police arrive when the incidents are occurring. The family can’t afford a surveillance system.
Their landlord has tried to help. The landlord and the family have tried contacting the taxi company, which has been around for more than 25 years, to change their address online, but Audley said she was laughed at. The family has tried contacting business organizations in Surrey and Langley, and even Google but to no avail.
Early this week, she said she was more optimistic after getting in touch with a taxi licensing organization.
Black Press Media contacted the Passenger Transportation Board, Consumer Protection BC and the Passenger Transportation Branch, which all have oversight of the taxi industry, but all said this circumstance falls outside of their mandates because the family is not a cab customer.
The Ministry of Transportation said providing valuables temporarily when unable to pay is not a proper, allowable transaction but noted that under the Taxi Bill of Rights, a cab driver can demand a deposit (cash, credit card or taxi voucher) at the start of the trip and can refuse to transport the customer if he or she will not comply.
Cab company manager Arvinder Singh said he’s been in contact with Google and is working to meet its requirements to get the changes made. He’s waiting on documents from the company before it will make the changes.
“I’m really trying hard, honestly,” he said.
He said the valuables are things people have forgotten in the cabs.
“They are supposed to be phoning us,” he said about customers.
When the cab company has confirmed it has the person’s article, it will then give the customer its address to retrieve the article, he explained.
Singh called the newspaper on Thursday to say changes have been made online and apologized for the inconvenience that occurred.