By CHRIS AGEE
Local entrepreneur Johnathon Hamm said he saw a need in Mineral Wells and set out to meet it by bringing taxi service back to the city.
Though there has been no cab company in the area for several years, Hamm said his business model is based on offering specific groups reliable, affordable transportation.
He said a conversation with his two young daughters at a local restaurant planted the idea for Mineral Wells Crazy Cab in his mind. Noticing most patrons were drinking alcohol, he said one of his daughters asked who would be driving the guests home safely.
“It was an 8-year-old’s observation that brought this to light,” he said, explaining his primary goal is to “keep the roads safe by keeping drunk drivers off the road.”
Operating between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m. each day, Hamm said he does not want to interfere with the service provided by public transit.
Instead, he explained, he hopes to supplement that service, which cannot guarantee individuals will arrive at a their destination at a specific time.
“They don’t run after dark,” he said, “and that’s when there’s a need in this town.”
The first rider on each trip pays a flat $10 fee, Hamm said, and each additional passenger’s fee is $3. Rates for any additional trips on the same day are reduced to $5 for the first passenger while all other rates remain unchanged.
Accepting his first client Thursday, Hamm said Crazy Cab began with a fleet of two decommissioned Palo Pinto County Sheriff’s Office cruisers.
A former employee of the PPSO, he said he designed the company’s dispatch center to operate in an efficient manner as does local law enforcement.
“It’s modeled really closely to the way a police department would function,” he said.
Currently serving anyone inside city limits, Hamm said his intent is to support local businesses. He said providing safe transportation will not only protect other motorists by keeping intoxicated individuals from driving but will also free up police.
“We tell people it’s better to take a ride in our police car for $10 than a car owned by the county for $10,000,” said Hamm’s sister and business partner, Amber.
While his focus during the holiday season is preventing drunk driving, he said he hopes to expand the service to help the community’s elderly and needy citizens.
He said voucher programs in some neighboring cities provide government reimbursement for cab operators transporting Medicaid and Medicare patients to and from appointments. Such a program would be a great benefit to many locals, he said, adding he hopes to be able to incorporate that aspect into his business.
Though his company has been open just a few days, Hamm said the initial response from locals has been “overwhelming.”
Picking up one of his first clients at an area restaurant, he said several customers left their meal to walk outside and view the cab.
“Everybody was so amazed there was a taxi in Mineral Wells,” he said.
Since the taxis have already caught the attention of many locals, Hamm said he plans to offer advertising in the future.
“We’re turning so many heads,” he said, “eventually we want the cabs to have a NASCAR look.”
Local businesses have also offered support, he said, noting one restaurant has volunteered to distribute his flyers with all deliveries.
Hamm said anyone in need of a ride or interested in advertising on his cabs can call (940) 329-8877.
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By CHRIS AGEE
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