Hey, taxi! Now there’s more time to hail a cab
Debra Lucero enjoys helping people find jobs through her own work at Express Employment Professionals.
But Lucero, Express Employment Business Developer, said that lately she’s seen quite a few faces fall when people realize they can’t get to their new jobs because they don’t have transportation.
“That was just really frustrating,” Lucero said. “I would see the faces of these people drop. They wanted to... make a new start and we wanted to help, but we were at a roadblock.”
One such person, a young man, was excited to make a new start, until he realized he had no way to get to the job Express Employment had found for him.
“He just slumped down,” Lucero said. “I felt so bad, it brought tears to my eyes, and I thought, ‘Something has to be done here. Somebody’s got to do something.’”
So, she formed a committee of representatives of several local organizations, including Kinnic Falls director Katie Thus; City Assistant Administrator/Finance Director Julie Bergstrom; River Falls Housing Authority Executive Director Ann McAlpine; Our Neighbors’ Place Director Katie Morsch; and TurningPoint’s Kim Wojcik.
Through their monthly meetings, which started last November, the group decided the most logical option would be to increase the hours of the city’s existing public transportation -- the shared-ride taxi service.
The committee worked with the city, and with Robert Mooney, River Falls Shared Ride Taxi-Top Hat Inc. district manager.
The committee also created a survey circulated through the city newsletter and local nonprofits. It gave the committee an idea of the needs for the shared-ride taxi service.
Now, following its Aug. 12 meeting, the City Council agreed to give longer taxi service hours a test drive, from Sept. 2 to Oct. 31.
During the pilot program period, the shared-ride taxi service will operate 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Lucero said she’s excited about the new hours -- so is the taxi service, according to Mooney.
“The community’s been asking for it for a long time,” Mooney said. “So I’m glad the city’s trying this out. I really hope people utilize (the new hours).”
Taxis don’t have to be ordered in advance, but Mooney said there’s likely to be a longer wait if the taxi is ordered at the time a person wants a ride.
For more information, visit www.rfcity.org/taxiservice. To reach the taxi service, visit 715-425-7878.
For the rest of this story, see the Aug. 28 print issue of the River Falls Journal.