Taxi service seeks fare increase |

Taxi service seeks fare increase

Preston Utley/Vail DailyVail Valley Taxi is asking a state commission to allow it to increase its rates.

VAIL – The owner of the largest taxi service in the valley said gasoline and insurance costs are forcing him to raise fares.Daniel Booz, president of Vail Valley Taxi, said this is the company’s first rate increase in seven years.”The cost of everything has gone up,” he said.An 11.1-mile trip from Vail to Avon would cost about $36.50. It now costs about $30.A 4.1-mile trip from Vail Village to West Vail would cost about $15.50. It now costs $12.50.Booz said the company, which has operated in the valley since 1987, tries to keep prices low for locals, but the taxis have operated at a loss for several years, he said.Mark Williams, who lives in Timber Ridge in Vail, said the increase doesn’t bother him too much.

“It matters a little, but I only go to Timber Ridge, though,” he said.If he was going farther downvalley, he might be more concerned, he said.Booz said the taxi rates are high – but so is the cost of many things in the valley.”There’s nothing economical about this valley,” he said. “It’s all killer expensive.”Alternative servicesHigh Mountain Taxi, the only other registered taxi company in Eagle County, charges $3.50 per mile, and the meter starts at $3.75, said Mark Cupp, lead driver for High Mountain Taxi.One alternative to the two taxi companies is the Hummer of Vail service, which functions as a limo service. The rates are $12-$15 from Vail Village to East Vail or West Vail. It costs $25-$28 to go from Vail Village to Avon.

Owner Jonathan Levine said increases in insurance rates are driving up his costs, as well. His rates have more than doubled in two years, he said, while the number of companies offering insurance has gone from 10 to two.Combining that with the seasonal nature of the business and the restrictive Public Utilities Commission rules that make adding cars to his fleet during the high season difficult, operating prices remain high for his business. But his costs are competitive with the taxi companies, he said.Taxi rates are regulated by the Public Utilities Commission. Rates and schedules can only be changed on 30-days notice unless otherwise approved by the commission.The commission will review the Vail Valley Taxi’s request for rate increases. The rate changes would take effect Dec. 29 unless suspended or rejected by the commission.Objections to the rate increase must be made in writing and filed with the Public Utilities Commission, 1580 Logan St., Denver, CO 80203.Terry Bote, spokesman for the Public Utilities Commission, said the commission reviews the financial justification of the rate increase – including both the expenses and revenues of the company.The commission also looks at any protests made in writing to the commission from members of the public.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14623, or, Colorado

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