Craig When Mike Vice decided to pursue starting another taxi service in Craig, he didn’t know just how overwhelming it would be.
Mike and his wife, Soni, who own Lariat Liquors, 391 Lincoln St., started the process of acquiring a taxicab license in July and said the community has supported their decision.
“We have had overwhelming support from everyone that has come into the store and signed our petitions,” Soni said. “Anyone we have talked to are like, ‘Yes, definitely, we need competition. We need a reliable service,’ and someone that will be open when they need them.”
All Around Taxi, owned and operated by Mike’s sister Sidney Brasfield, is the only taxi servicing the Craig area.
Brasfield, who has owned All Around Taxi for seven years, said Craig cannot support the Vices’ proposed taxi service.
“There is just not enough business for two cabs, and the fact that he is my brother doesn’t make it easy either,” she said.
Brasfield and the Vices will appear in the Moffat County Courthouse before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission for a three-day hearing beginning March 24. All taxi services must be licensed through the state.
Each side will make their case as to why or why not Craig should have a second cab service. The Vices will need to show there is a need and enough business for both services in order to be licensed.
“We are saying there is a need if only simply because there needs to be a cab here to run 24-7,” Mike said. “There are people that have to go places at 3 a.m. or 5 a.m. and you need to have a reliable way to get there.”
Brasfield said the economy has taken a toll recently, reducing business from $200 to $250 a night to $100 on a Friday night.
“It’s hard enough when someone else is trying to take your livelihood, but when it’s your brother, that makes it really hard,” she said.
Since July, the Vices have paid about $10,000 in lawyer fees in the process and are looking at a total start-up cost of about $25,000.
Craig Taxi and Courier, as the Vices hope to name their business, will start with two vehicles, one of which Mike will drive.
Although Mike sees the business opportunity in a taxi service, he thinks Craig needs the service more than he needs the business.
“In a town like Craig, it would be a lot more gloried (than a large city) because people would depend on you in a different way,” he said. “It’s not going to be just a, ‘Pick me up at the bar at 2 a.m.’ thing, its going to be, ‘I need to have my prescription picked up,’ or a little old lady needs groceries and can’t go to the store and for a small fee she can have it brought right to her house.”
Mike hopes to partner with Craig businesses, as well, including hotels, hunting lodges, copy offices and other business that need a courier service in Craig and to and from Steamboat.
“I think as people see it is a quality, dependable service that they’re going to come to us and say, ‘What can you do to help me with my problem?’” Mike said.
Despite Brasfield being “very upset” about the situation, she will have to wait until Wednesday to state her position that there is “absolutely no need” for another cab service in Craig.
“If there was two taxis, neither one of us could survive, and we would be right back where we were seven years ago with no taxi,” she said.