Cab owners report busy, safe summer — for the most part

Fri, 09/18/2020 - 3:15pm

Even with fewer cabs on the streets, and fewer seats in those cabs, cab owner and Motor Vehicles for Hire member Sue Ann Millikin described what was, overall, a pretty busy and safe summer, though it is not quite over yet.

Out of 32 cabs, only 15 were on the road this year, said Millikin, and no passengers were allowed in the front seat. This decreased seating for the 15 cabs by 18. Five cabs had Plexiglas dividers between the driver and the passengers. Millikin gave her report to the Motor Vehicles For Hire Commission on Wednesday, Sept. 16.

The cabs were provided cleaning supplies by the Block Island Chamber of Commerce, and each cab had a supply of facemasks if a passenger wasn’t wearing one or requested one. Millikin said that she estimated there was “95 percent compliance” on facemask wearing during the day, adding “night drivers had a different story. I do think they had some pretty tough nights this year.”

Because of the fewer cabs, there was a longer wait time for rides during peak hours, but Millikin said “most people were understanding.”

Millikin said that the cab owners coordinated rides and prioritized jobs.

“The taxis did a great job moving thousands of passengers in a very challenging year and everyone stayed healthy,” said Millikin.

“I think they did a fantastic job,” said cab owner Champ Starr. With fewer cabs on the road, “the rest of the team picked up the slack and that should be noted.”

In other news, longtime member and cab owner Vin McAloon has submitted his letter of resignation due to health issues. MVFH Chair Brad Marthens and the other commission members agreed that McAloon’s time on the board should be recognized in some way.

“He’s done a lot for us,” said Marthens.