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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

A Town Without Transportation


I was just shocked when I called Brattleboro Taxi to get a recorded message saying they were no longer operating! This is a huge blow to those of us who can no longer drive and have used the taxi to get to appointments and to errands.

I just used the taxi on Sunday so this was very sudden and with no notice.

I'm hoping that somebody will pick up the slack and start offering some kind of transportation service.

This is a blow to lots of us.

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 #

I just sent an email to all

I just sent an email to all the members of the SelectBoard informing them of this closure and telling them not only what the lack of transportation in the town means to me but how it will affect the elderly and disabled population of the town. If people can't get to appointments, can't shop for healthy foods, can't get out to socialize then a loss of independence and a sense of isolation will set in.
Brattleboro Taxi was the main mode of transport for people from neighboring towns to get to the train station, the bus station, to get to neighboring towns for appointments. The loss of a taxi service affects the town in a very debilitating way and it is something that the SelectBoard will hopefully address in a timely manner.

 
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Lyft

I use this service when I travel, and it's been positive. At least as cheap, and clean as a taxi. I did notice there is no Lyft service here presently.. But since a driver uses their own car, Brattleboro surely could find drivers. Supposedly it's a fair-minded and security oriented company. Worth looking into how to get it going here.

 
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I noticed that there is a

I noticed that there is a Brattleboro contingent of Uber listed. Not sure if it's actually working or it's still just a thought. I use Lyft when I visit my son in NYC. I like the punctuality of it and feel safer at night.
I'm not sure either of these services could thrive on trips to PriceChopper
The taxi did a lot of the early morning and weekend rides to clinics which were sub contracted from the Current transportation service.
There's needs to be reliable transportation here whether that means revamping the bus system so they run more often or enticing another cab company to come in. I'm looking to move and have seriously begun to think about going to Keene
At least you can get around in that town.

 
 #

Wait for the monorails

The Brattleboro Monorail Authority hopes to break ground by 2035. : )

Just kidding. A better option for around here (than ride sharing apps that make tech company presidents gazillionaires) might be to work to develop some sort of bike-power taxi service. Our taxi laws, by the way, came about because we had way too many taxi services competing for prime locations, leading to scuffles. Brattleboro had about 6 taxi services in the 50's, if I recall correctly.

Today, Dave Cohen and Vbikes have lots of examples of cargo bikes - electrically assisted bikes that can carry people and cargo, and can get up and down hills without much extra effort. I'm sure there are taxi-like options out there. It's a business waiting to happen.

Of course, that would be another private enterprise, and basic transportation falls much closer, in my view, to basic utility. That is, the Town should be a place where everyone can get everywhere - especially to get food and go to doctors, work, and school. Whether that is a transportation service or new zoning, I don't know.

 
 #

Let's not jump to conclusions

When you call the number, the message says they are "closing for a complete revamp and suspending business until further notice." The voice also says "If you're a senior wanting to go to the senior center or just want to go shopping, please call 888-869-6287."
Then the voice goes on to thank people, and does sound rather somber.
Maybe someone should get in touch with them and see what the forecast is before we declare the death of taxi service in Brattleboro?

 
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For people that depend on the

For people that depend on the taxi for their daily needs- medical appointments, grocery shopping, lunch at the Senior Center
having the service discontinued for even a few days can wreak havoc in their lives. Easy to say " don't jump to conclusions " if you are able bodied or have your own transportation.
Nobody knows what "revamped" means but I do know that dozens of people now have no way to get around and that a half dozen good taxi drivers are unemployed with no notice. Not a way to run or not run a business when a town has been supportive of you for years. The owner lives in Florida, has had little to do with the day to day business and obviously made this decision with little care as to how this decision would negatively impact many lives.

 
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How would anyone get in touch

How would anyone get in touch with them - since they are no longer doing business? The number that is given on the message is not their number. It is the number for the Southeastetn Vermont Transportation which runs theCurrent bus.
They had no information when I called yestetday.

 
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The volunteer fleet

The Current Bus car per diem program (paid) used the taxi's when needed. But, for outside of Brattleboro they also use private volunteer individuals for those qualified for car service assistance. We can call Current to see if it falls within their bailiwick to expand the private volunteer fleet to include local trips, not just out of town.

 
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Old vs New

As I mentioned I sent an email to all the Selectboard members telling them of the closure of the taxi company and asking them to look into what happened and if there was a way the town could help get the taxis running again.
I received replies back from Brandie Starr and Tim Wessel- thanking me for letting them know and saying that they would look into it. No replies of any kind from the other 3 members- Kate O'Connor,David Schoales and John Allen. I wasn't expecting a heartfelt letter but an acknowledgement of my email would have been nice as well as some show of concern for the residents that they represent having no way to get around now.I love having both Tim and Brandie on the board- new perspectives and what seems to be a genuine wish to help this town. It seems to be pretty much what it's always been with other SelectBoards- you have one or 2 members who really get what it means to represent the community and then the old regime who can't be bothered responding to a resident reaching out and who only reinforce the feeling that many people have - the SelectBoard isn't concerned with the elderly. poor or disabled members of the town. I'm grateful to Brandie and Tim for responding.

 
 #

Outlier

As an outlier from downtown I found any regular use of taxis is too expensive for me.

Although, I know the main body of taxi customers are situated in the cluster of arteries conveyed from Main Street to all parts of downtown.

Kudos to Brandie and Tim for their timely response to you.

 

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