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On-demand taxi service is a rarity in Minot these days. With the city’s last taxi service closing in August and fewer drivers contracting out ride-by-app services, taking an elevator has become more difficult and less convenient in the city. The finger of blame for the lack of taxi companies has been pointed at the city’s binding mandates, but others who follow the transportation industry cite factors such as the end of an oil boom, the arrival from Lyft and Uber, lack of drivers and high costs, especially for Insurance. The leaders of the city of Minot are aware of the unmet transportation needs, not only for the general traveling public, but in particular for those requiring handicapped accessibility. They say it is a difficult question to grasp in search of a solution. Brekka Kramer, president and CEO of the Minot Region Chamber, EDC, acknowledged the concerns of the business community and noted that a solution will require the involvement of a variety of stakeholders. “We always try to help out anything that supports our community and the business world and connect the right people,” she said. “We’re trying to figure out who all should be at the table to have discussions.” Newly elected Minot City Council member Scott Burlingame has been involved in accessible transportation issues through his position as Executive Director at Independence, Inc., which hosted a transportation discussion in September. The City of Minot approved in 2016 an ordinance requiring taxi companies to have a vehicle capable of accommodating all types of wheelchairs. However, Burlingame said he had not heard the ordinance was a factor in the disbanding of taxi services in the city. When Central Cab closed in August, a used van purchased for about $3,500 from Souris Basin Transportation was available for accessible rides. Burlingame said spending and competition may have more to do with the demise of taxi companies, but labor shortages affect all areas of transport as well. “The cost of insurance was a big issue. I don’t think it’s a council problem. I think it’s more of an issue between the state legislature and the insurance commissioner, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think the city council can have the conversation,” he said. “It’s something that needs to be talked about and addressed, and I’m certainly prepared to do that in the role of city council – to create that conversation.” In 2014, congestion led the city to impose a regulation that only one taxi from a taxi company could wait at the airport at a time. Taxi companies would circumvent regulations by registering taxis as separate companies, but the rule eventually took precedence over the oil boom. Companies that provide transport for a fee, whether hotels, taxis or otherwise, still need to register, but the number of taxis is not limited, according to the airport manager, Jennifer Eckman. She said the airport would accommodate any number of taxis given the unmet demand it sees. Minot attorney Brandon Rowenhorst, who had defended the accessible taxi ordinance, said taxi service may not have seen much use due to long waits for taxis, likely due to personnel issues. But his absence again leaves people with few options. “Right now you’re back to paratransit,” he said. Although Souris Basin Transportation offers door-to-door service, it requires a ride reservation 24 hours in advance. Rowenhorst said it’s possible for a Lyft and Uber driver to pick up a used, accessible van from Souris Basin or another transit agency at auction and fill that gap in service. However, the city does not require them to provide accessible service. Darrell Francis, executive director of Souris Basin Transportation, said his last agency vans fetched about $20,000 at auction, though Souris Basin continues to offer free driver training to anyone wanting to start a 24-hour service. He said the goal of accessible taxi service is to provide rides 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Souris Basin is looking to expand to better meet demand, although 24 hours on 24, 7 days a week is not possible, he said. Demand has generally been high, he said. “We book 24 hours in advance, but some of them are booked for the next three or four days because people need the rides. So we are in the process of finding more pilots. We have the vehicles, and we are trying to increase our hours and add more routes,” Francis said. The paratransit service operates from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Friday, Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. where Souris Basin would like to expand, Francis said. “We know the need, because we get the calls,” he said. “But at the same time, I need more drivers, because I can’t do it without more routes and more drivers.”

On-demand taxi service is a rarity in Minot these days. With the city’s last taxi service closing in August and fewer drivers contracting out ride-by-app services, taking an elevator has become more difficult and less convenient in the city.

The finger of blame for the lack of taxi companies has been pointed at the city’s binding mandates, but others who follow the transportation industry cite factors such as the end of an oil boom, the arrival from Lyft and Uber, lack of drivers and high costs, especially for Insurance.

The leaders of the city of Minot are aware of the unmet transportation needs, not only for the general traveling public, but in particular for those requiring handicapped accessibility. They say it is a difficult question to grasp in search of a solution.

Brekka Kramer, president and CEO of the Minot Region Chamber, EDC, acknowledged the concerns of the business community and noted that a solution will require the involvement of a variety of stakeholders.

“We always try to help out anything that supports our community and the business world and connect the right people together,” she says. “We’re trying to figure out who all should be at the table to have discussions.”

Newly elected Minot City Council member Scott Burlingame has been involved in accessible transportation issues through his position as Executive Director at Independence, Inc., which hosted a transportation discussion in September.

The City of Minot approved in 2016 an ordinance requiring taxi companies to have a vehicle capable of accommodating all types of wheelchairs. However, Burlingame said he had not heard the ordinance was a factor in the disbanding of taxi services in the city. When Central Cab closed in August, a used van purchased for about $3,500 from Souris Basin Transportation was available for accessible rides.

Burlingame said spending and competition may have more to do with the demise of taxi companies, but labor shortages affect all areas of transport as well.

“The cost of insurance was a big issue. I don’t think it’s a council problem. I think it’s more of an issue between the state legislature and the insurance commissioner, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think the city council can have the conversation. » he said. “It’s something that needs to be talked about and addressed, and I’m certainly prepared to do that in the role of city council – to create that conversation.”

In 2014, congestion led the city to impose a regulation that only one taxi from a taxi company could wait at the airport at a time. Taxi companies would circumvent regulations by registering taxis as separate companies, but the rule eventually took precedence over the oil boom.

Companies that provide transport for a fee, whether hotels, taxis or otherwise, still need to register, but the number of taxis is not limited, according to the airport manager, Jennifer Eckman. She said the airport would accommodate any number of taxis given the unmet demand it sees.

Minot attorney Brandon Rowenhorst, who had defended the accessible taxi ordinance, said taxi service may not have seen much use due to long waits for taxis, likely due to personnel issues. But his absence again leaves people with few options.

“Right now, you are back to paratransit,” he said. Although Souris Basin Transportation offers door-to-door service, it requires a ride reservation 24 hours in advance.

Rowenhorst said it’s possible for a Lyft and Uber driver to pick up a used, accessible van from Souris Basin or another transit agency at auction and fill that gap in service. However, the city does not require them to provide accessible service.

Darrell Francis, executive director of Souris Basin Transportation, said his last agency vans fetched about $20,000 at auction, though Souris Basin continues to offer free driver training to anyone wanting to start a 24-hour service. out of 24.

He said the goal of accessible taxi service is to provide rides 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Souris Basin is looking to expand to better meet demand, although 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is not possible, he said.

Demand has generally been high, he said.

“We book 24 hours in advance, but some of them are booked for the next three or four days because people need the rides. So we are in the process of finding more pilots. We have the vehicles, and we are trying to increase our hours and add more routes,” said Francois.

The paratransit service operates from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Friday, Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. where Souris Basin would like to expand, Francis said.

“We know the need, because we receive the calls”, he said. “But at the same time, I need more drivers, because I can’t do it without more routes and more drivers.”



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