Taxi cab companies will be expanding their fleets for the St. Patrick's Day Rush, but it doesn't mean the cab companies are any happier with the city of Savannah.
The new taxis have to be inspected, permitted and affiliated with a cab company already licensed to operate, which the businesses have no problem with. What some do have an issue with is what they call the most disorganized the city has ever been when it comes to how taxi cabs can run during St. Patrick's Day events.
With time ticking away, Astashiia Surry at Magikal Taxi Service, who has had her issues in the past with the city over cab color specifications, says her fleet is getting tuned up and ready, as well as Big Mike's Taxi, which is an affiliate taxi service. They'll add a shuttle van which will need inspection by the city, but she says visitors will need to beware of rogue taxi's and ask to see a driver's city issued badge, look for a decal and permit.
She says the city hasn't offered taxi companies much information to help them out, like what roads will be blocked during the controlled festival zone, where customers should meet them or find the taxis, or where the city is telling people to look for taxis.
While the city has told WTOC they have designated Broughton Street as the best bet for both taxis and cab customers to navigate towards during the festival for service, Surry says any notion of making Broughton Street one big taxi stand is a nightmare waiting to happen.
"We have no idea what's coming. They have not met with any of us owners so we don't have any idea what's going on. They are going to be walking everywhere but where are our taxis going to pick them up? My taxis aren't going on Broughton Street. We'll have to meet them on the side streets or we will be stuck on Broughton for an hour trying to get two blocks," Surry said.
The city says, in their defense, Broughton is not an official taxi stand, but from past experience, where most people end up catching taxis. In the past, taxi stands have been set up and went largely unused. So, this year, the city decided to do away with official taxi stands.
As far as telling taxi companies what streets are blocked off, city spokesman Bret Bell tells WTOC the information has been made available to the public since the beginning of the year on the city website and if the companies are familiar with the controlled entertainment zone, they should know any street north of Broughton, west of Drayton, and East of Martin Luther King, will be closed down on Friday between 8am and 3am and all of Saturday.
Magikal Taxi and other companies WTOC spoke to hope to get more answers from the city Thursday during their expanded fleet inspections.
The city did tell WTOC Tuesday, in respect to rogue taxis, they would not be permitted on the spot despite other published newspaper reports according to public information officers. They clarified only cabs affiliated with a taxi company would be permitted on the spot and inspected.