Waupaca council approves taxi contract
Brown Cab Service Inc. will continue to serve the Waupaca area following the Waupaca Common Council’s renewal of its contract.
The council voted 10-0 on Nov. 5 to award it a contract for the next five years.
The city is required to go out to bid for the service every five years.
Brown Cab Service was one of two companies that provided a proposal for Waupaca’s shared-ride taxi service.
The other company was Top Hat, of La Crosse.
A panel made up of Christie Gonwa, Waupaca County’s transportation director; Terri Schulz, Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce president; and Steve D’Amanda, director of materials management at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King, reviewed the proposals.
They scored them independently, with Brown Cab Service rating the higher of the two.
Dave Lowe, of Brown Cab Service, told the council they did not raise the hourly rate this year and will not raise the hourly rate in 2014 or 2015.
The summary of Waupaca Taxi’s 2012 operation shows a record number of rides were provided in 2012.
Total ridership was 58,651 one-way trips, compared to 2011’s total of 51,312.
That was an increase of 14.3 percent.
Passenger revenue in 2012 rose from $135,600 to about $142,100.
The taxi service’s annual summary shows that increase was about 4.8 percent less than the increase in ridership.
Brown Cab Service attributes that to two factors – a much larger number of passengers carried qualified for reduced fares because of elderly or disabled status and the number of agency afres were less than anticipated.
Agency fares are higher than regular fares and account for about 6 percent of the trips taken on most of Brown Cab Service’s other systems.
Here they were less than 2 percent of the trips in Waupaca.
For the King portion of the service, ridership was about 3 percent from 2011 to 2012, with revenue up about the same since almost all of the King riders in both years qualified for the reduced fare, according to the 2012 operation summary.
In an Oct. 31 letter to Veleker, Karl Schulte, general manager of Brown Cab Services, projects ridership will increase to more than 62,000 annual trips this year.
Within the city, Waupaca Taxi averages more than four passengers per service hour, with 2.5 riders per hour considered typical, he said.
The average fare for a one-way trip is more than $2, and Schulte told Veleker that Waupaca Taxi’s three-year increase in ridership has resulted in an increased annual income for the program of about $25,000.
Schulte also said that before 2010, the state and federal government genearlly paid 65 percent of the program’s costs.
For fiscal years 2013 and 2014, the state and federal government have committed to pay about 59 percent of the program’s operating costs, he said.
This year, those who use Waupaca Taxi will pay fares which equal about 36 percent of the program’s operating costs, Schulte said.
As a result, Brown Cab Service is recommending adjustments to Waupaca Taxi’s fare schedule to eliminate the shortfall being caused by the reduction in state aid.
While Brown Cab will continue to work with the city to evaluate its fare schedule, its recommendations may include a 25 cent increase in the elderly and disabled fare and a 50 cent increase in the regular adult fare.
Low said they want to go several months into the next year and see how ridership looks before looking at whether the fares need to be tweaked.
The extension of taxi services to the area surrounding and including the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King is set to continue.
In 2013, the veterans home guaranteed $24,000 of rides.
Under the agreement with the veterans home, which was also approved by the council on Nov. 5, the veterans home will pay the city $32,000 in 2014.
Veleker told the council the veterans home staff is recommending approval of the agreement to the state.
If there are any changes at the state level, it would have to be brought back before the council, he said.