Kristine Hubbard is following in her mother’s footsteps: Gail Beck-Souter is the owner of Beck Taxi. Hubbard represents the third generation to get into business at the largest and most successful taxicab company in the country, with a fleet of over 1,850 cabs and 4000 drivers in Toronto. Beck Taxi has teamed up with M.A.D.D. to help put an end to impaired driving. We caught up with the pair recently to find out what it’s like to go to work with your mom (or daughter).

SDTC: What’s the best thing about working with your mom?
Kristine: The best thing about working for my mom is being able to learn from her. She in work and as a mom is so strong and an amazing role model. I get the best of both worlds with her here. Also, this business is personal. It is personal to me and I get to share that with her.

What’s the best thing about working with your daughter?

Gail: The best thing about working with my daughter is marveling at the brilliant business woman she has become. She is confident, wise & extremely compassionate. It doesn’t hurt that it means I get to see her each and every day.

Who does what?

Kristine: I think our talents/skills are very similar. Our personalities as well so we often take on different tasks so a part of us is overseeing every aspect of this business. We can trade off easily but Gail’s favourite thing is to be in the dispatch office on the phones with our customers or on the radios communicating with drivers. I don’t get the chance to do much of that these days.

Gail: As well, there is no task too small nor too big. If the floor needs sweeping or the dishes need putting away, we’ll do it. We can jump on the phones to take orders or on the radio to help drivers with information. We are prepared to do whatever job needs to be done.

What’s the most challenging thing about running an enormous taxi service?

Kristine: The biggest challenge is keeping up with all of the moving parts while trying to offer that personal touch in our customer service and staff & driver relationships. We don’t have many resources in terms of companies that we can look to for guidance. We take risks when we introduce new things and have to hope that our experience and intuition will be on target and that new ideas will be supported by drivers and riders. Probably not as much now but is still present is the issue that we are women working in not only a male-dominated industry but literally a man’s world. I face challenges that I look younger than expected but I’ve been here 22 years and I know what I’m talking about. Very often I get “that can’t be, you look 22 years old.”  I find that I have to prove myself in a more immediate way to be heard.

Gail: We DO take chances – it’s the only way to grow – but it is a challenge now that we are so big. There is no such thing a small mistake when you are 1,850 cars. There is definitely a challenge in continuing to provide quality, not just quantity.

What did your life look like before this business?

Kristine: I went to Western and wrote the LSAT. From the time I was very young I was always told that I’d make a “good lawyer” so I thought this was what I wanted. I did pretty well on the test but the taxi business draws you in. It really does become part of you and I realized as I approached making that decision that I wanted to be at Beck. It’s where I grew up and I felt like I should stay there and that’s where I really wanted to be.

Gail: I have worked in the taxi industry since I was 16 but took a short break when my children were small to open a children’s wear store. We had the best dressed kids in town! However, reality set in when my father passed suddenly in 1985 and I was thrown back into the family business.

What is it about M.A.D.D. that really resonates with you?

Kristine: M.A.D.D. is the perfect fit for many reasons. Firstly we are both women and mothers but we also work in an organization with a top priority of providing the public with a safe ride home. We live in the community in which we work along with our family, friends and neighbours. This is a natural fit of course.

Who is the biggest celeb that’s ever rode in the back of a Beck?

Kristine: Dan Aykroyd a few years back during TIFF. And years ago, it was a great thrill to know that Pierre Trudeau would call Beck for taxis whenever he was in Toronto. Another great Canadian that called Beck regularly was singer Jeff Healey, sadly missed. These days, we are always happy when Jeanne Beker (love her line of clothing), Tracey Moore or Cheryl Hickey call, just to name a few.

What’s your best tip for hailing a taxi on NYE?

Kristine: Hailing a taxi on NYE works best if you are separated from large crowds, according to veteran drivers. To make life easier you can always order through our app which will let you know the taxi number when we’ve got a Beck on the way. From that time you know you’ll have a taxi within a few minutes. This allows you to stay inside and while you may wait, we won’t forget about you.

So, who’s the better driver?
Kristine: ME!!! Lol.


This NYE, we don’t want you to even think about drinking and driving. That’s why, we’re giving away $100 Beck Taxi gift cards to two readers. To enter, tweet : “Hi @Shedoesthecity, I’d never drink and drive so, please gift me some Beck Bucks so I can have a smooooooth ride on NYE!”

Winners will be announced at 4pm on December 29th, 2014.