Winter Park officials reject Valley Taxi’s request for off-season funding
SKY-HI DAILY NEWS
The Winter Park Council rejected a $10,688 request made by Valley Taxi for off-season funding Tuesday.
The money would have helped the company provide “uninterrupted” services to the community during the slow season, from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. April 14 to June 1.
After ski season the service may adjust its schedule to run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday though Thursday; and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Valley Taxi currently operates from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day, said co-owner Matt Lloyd.
The funding would have paid for the operating costs of one driver and dispatcher, while customers would pay for gas and maintenance. This would have guaranteed services from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day, kept costs affordable and provided more safe rides, the company said in a document.
Lloyd, said the company is still looking at ways to maintain its current hours.
“The problem is, with the gas and payroll and everything, the costs add up quick,” he said. “We’re unable to provide the service Sunday through Thursday nights. We don’t know how many riders we’re going to have. We can’t afford to test the market out on our own.”
Lloyd plans to approach businesses, restaurants and bars to get a “Safe Group” started to cover the taxi’s services on slow nights.
He said he wasn’t surprises the request to help his private business was turned down, but thought the attempt was worth a try.
“It’s an important part of the community now that we have a taxi that is willing to run 365-days out of the year,” he said.
This was Valley Taxi’s first operating season in Winter Park.
Winter Park Mayor Nick Teverbaugh said the council wants to look into starting a program similar to other mountain communities called “Tipsy Taxi” or “Safe Home.”
If someone has been over-served and shouldn’t drive, they are given vouchers to receive a safe ride home. This eliminates accidents and people from driving under the influence, he said.
“They (Valley Taxi) were looking at such a low volume that they didn’t think they could pay for a driver and dispatcher to be able to operate the taxi service,” he said.
“We’re looking at a program to help people who have had too much to drink to get home.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to work with the restaurant community and town to do some type of voucher program,” he said.
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