New taxi service in Valencia County ready to give you a ride
Why risk drinking and driving when you could call a cab? That’s what Frank Martinez, marketing manager and cab driver at Richard’s Taxi, wants to know.
Richard’s Taxi, which got off the ground just in time for New Year’s, is Los Lunas and Valencia County’s only fully Public Regulation Commission-licensed taxi service.
Martinez says the taxi service is non-medical, so unlike services, such as Safe Ride, Richard’s Taxi does not accept insurance for payment. They are a 24-hour, cash-only service, he said.
“We’re the same as Yellow Cab, as any other cab â€• PRC licensed,” Martinez says.
Right now, the company has one vehicle, a four-wheel drive SUV, perfect for the area’s rural, and sometimes rough terrain. Martinez said that every month business has been getting better, but getting the local community acquainted with a service more often found in the big city has been a challenge.
“The locals here are not familiar with a taxi cab, they’re used to Safe Ride and the Rio Metro, which is government funded,” he said. “So that’s the last problem I’m having is just reaching out to the locals.”
Martinez said a lot of his business so far has come from travelers, going to and from the airport, but says what he’d really like is to use the business to encourage people to find safer alternatives to drinking and driving.
“What we’re trying to promote more than anything is DWI-free driving,” he said. “I’m trying to work with people and offer them round trips to the casino, to the three bars that we have out here. I want them to understand that when they go have a good time, they can do it comfortably, knowing they don’t have to drive. They have a ride home that’s guaranteed at any time of the night.”
Another benefit of having a local taxi service in an area that is so spread out is just general transportation for people who may be home bound or not have a car.
“Without a vehicle in this town, it’s almost impossible. My mom lives up in Meadow Lake and she’s always stranded up there because you can’t walk anywhere.”
Martinez said that because Valencia County has never had a taxi service, some locals are hesitant about the cost. But he says it is the state that regulates the fare.
The PRC sets the taxi’s drop fee at $8, meaning there is a standard $8 fee to turn the meter on.
“The way they figure that out is by the popularity of the town that you’re in and how spread out things are,” he said. “It’s like a protection fee, too. It’s something we are not allowed to change, it’s state regulated.
“The state assumes it will be part of our taxes,” he said. “Plus, we get those calls where we go to the bar and we show up and the person’s gone, so I try to get the bartender to take that eight dollars drop fee and then I give her half.”
After that, the cost is $1.50 a mile, or more or less depending on gas prices.
“We don’t leave the timer on for red lights, or if they need to run into the store or wherever, the timer is not running — it’s not a timed meter, it’s only by millage.”
For information, or to call a cab, call Richard’s Taxi at 916-0433, or visit their website, www.richardstaxi.net.
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