Single cab back on road in Vicksburg

Published 12:03 pm Wednesday, September 22, 2010

After more than a year without any taxi service in the city, a single car operated by Rocket Cab Company quietly rolled back into business Monday.

“They provided the proof of insurance required and got all of their fees paid,” Deputy City Clerk John Carroll said Tuesday. “They have one vehicle that’s passed inspection at this point.”

Rocket Cab Company owner Joseph Williams did not return calls for comment. However, a person taking calls for the company Tuesday confirmed it was back in business as of Monday.

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Rocket Cab operated in the city until June 2003, when its operating permit was revoked after the company was cited for noncompliance with safety checks and proof of insurance.

The return of taxi service should come as good news to those who have been solely relying on the NRoute public transit mini-bus system since J5 Cab Company — the only in the city — ceased operating last July. NRoute will quit making Saturday runs and will cut out two routes serving Porters Chapel Road and U.S. 61 South beginning Oct. 1.

A public hearing on NRoute operations will be at 5 this evening during the NRoute Transportation Commission’s regular monthly meeting at 2501 Halls Ferry Road.

Meanwhile, three other prospective cab companies have begun the process of getting into business. One, Eagle Eye Transportation, just needs to pay the $300 registration fees collected by the city to get rolling. However, Carroll said none of the three have made any progress since the Vicksburg Transportation Board — which reformed in April in an effort to bring cab service back — met last week.

“I haven’t heard anything else from the others,” Carroll said. “I’m not going to push the issue. The ball is in their court.”

Prospective cab companies have repeatedly said a 2003 ordinance that increased required liability insurance has kept the taxi business from being profitable in the city. Under the ordinance, companies are required to carry a minimum liability insurance policy of $75,000 for injury or death, and $150,000 for each accident or damage to property — policies operators have said can cost as much as $1,000 per month, per cab.

Except for a brief stint in 1998-99, at least one cab company has operated in Vicksburg since the 1930s.