JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Jefferson City Council members said Monday that they are glad to hear a new cab business has opened after the city's only taxi service shut down about a month ago.
The owner of the new Cabbie Shak, Leese Shivers, drove for the now-shuttered Checker Cab for 12 years before it closed in early January. She now owns three of the iconic green cabs previously used by Checker Cabs and hopes to have them all in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"Whenever I found out they were closing down the cab … I know how many people depend on it," Shivers said.
City Councilman Ron Fitzwater said officials were worried after Checker Cab told the city council it would close.
"We lost a very important asset in the community," Fitzwater said. "There was concern that it filled a very important gap for some folks."
Fitzwater said the council is happy that ride-hailing apps have provided an alternative to the cab service in Jefferson City but was concerned that riders had to have access to a smartphone and credit card.
"A lot of times the folks who are using the taxi cabs want to pay cash," Fitzwater said. "They don't have the availability of the Uber app so it becomes an inconvenience to them."
He said the ride-hailing apps do not give updated figures about usage rates, but he hears talk of people using those services.
While the city has a public bus service that accepts cash, Fitzwater said the restricted hours and routes don't serve the population that uses the cab service.
Shivers has continued a contract with local bars that allows patrons to use a $10 dollar voucher for a sober ride home. Fitzwater said the city was lacking such a similar program since Checker Cab closed.
"The voucher service doesn't really doesn't comply with Lyft and Uber's guidelines and standards, it hasn't been approved by them," Fitzwater said.
Cabby Shak is looking for drivers.