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Vehicle problems force New Richmond to discontinue taxi service

Issues with New Richmond Shared Ride's new vans forced the company to pull them off the road for a week, but the vans should be back in service later today.

The handicap-accessible vans are brand new, said Rob Mooney, manager of New Richmond Shared Ride and River Falls Shared Ride. They were purchased with a federal grant the city received two years ago and are being leased for $1 a year to New Richmond Shared Ride.

On March 22, Mooney said he got a call from Top Hat Inc., which owns several taxi companies -- including Chippewa Falls, New Richmond and River Falls. That's when Mooney learned about the problems with the vans, he said.

"Chippewa Falls was the first to get the vans so they've been running them more and they were the first to notice the problems," Mooney said.

The problem had to do with the rear springs and the gas fill tube, he said. Mooney said he pulled both vans from New Richmond and an additional van from River Falls.

"It was a pretty dangerous problem," Mooney said. "That's why we had to pull them."

New Richmond was without service for a week before the vans were repaired, Mooney said.

Although the vans bare the Dodge name, another company made the modifications to the vans to include the handicap-accessible ramp.

"They weren't dealership parts so the (Dodge) dealerships didn't want to touch them," Mooney said.

On Monday, March 29, a week after pulling the vans from the streets, Mooney was informed that the two New Richmond vans were fixed.

"We're really happy about that," Mooney said. "I've been calling daily and no one really knew how long it would be."

He's not the only person who is happy to know the taxis are back.

"The customers are pretty happy about it too," he said.

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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