In the wake of Able Taxi’s recent closure, a long-time Orillia couple is gearing up to bring a new taxi service into the city.
Thomas Dearman and his wife, Linda Luk, plan to open ABBY Taxi Orillia over the holiday season – hopefully before Christmas, but likely early in the new year.
The couple have been Orillia residents since the 1980s, and Dearman has run several local businesses during his time in the city, including construction company Quality Monuments Restoration over the past 10 years.
They have been interested in opening a taxi company for a while; Dearman has some family connections in the industry, but he said the recent closure of Able Taxi pushed the couple to get their business rolling as soon as possible.
Luk and Dearman have been busy in recent weeks securing vehicles, arranging insurance, finding office space, and more, they said, adding the city has been great to work with throughout the process.
“Since the other company closed down, there's been a great need in town for taxis, and that's why we stepped right in and went over to city hall to get things rolling, and they were so happy to hear (about) another cab company in town,” Dearman told OrilliaMatters.
“Our company's going to be an honest company. It's going to be reliable, it's going to be safe," he said.
Named for Luk’s granddaughter, the company has already secured four vehicles, with an additional two on the way in the coming months.
“We’ve got great, late-model vehicles,” Dearman said. “We've got four of them, and we're going to end up with six by February.”
Four drivers have already been lined up, and Dearson said others have expressed interest in joining the new company.
Dearman said the company is offering an incentive program with the aim of bringing drivers aboard.
“There will be the incentive program, which is going to help a lot. I think it's … money well spent,” Dearman said. “It's going to be a signup bonus of $100, and if you hang around for three months you get $300.”
Dearman also said the company will offer discounted seniors rates, as well as group rates, and he plans to create a website to gather customer feedback.
“I want lots of feedback on the website,” he said. “I want a good reputation.”
Although local taxi services have expressed concern about the possibility of Uber coming to town, Dearman hopes to pre-emptively “fill the void” with ABBY Taxi Orillia.
“If we can accommodate the city with as many licences as they can hire, and we get all the cars rolling, I think the taxi businesses out there will be sufficient enough, rather than having Uber,” he said.