Rising fuel prices put strain on Tryon taxi service

Published 3:18 pm Monday, June 23, 2008

el prices and the town&squo;s regulations are putting a strain on their business.

Tryon Town Council met Tuesday and heard from RTS (Reliable Transportation Service) regarding the town&squo;s ordinances that regulate the business.

Council decided to sit down with the town&squo;s two taxi services and come up with recommendations regarding the regulations.

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Jay Mee and Tony Maise, owners of RTS, told council that making trips to airports and other long distances is not cost effective with the town&squo;s current $1.50 per mile charge rate. In one recent trip, the taxi owners said they only made $14 due to the significant increase in fuel prices.

&dquo;We feel that regulations for taxis in Tryon is a problem,&dquo; Maise said. &dquo;No other surrounding towns have such regulations.&dquo;

RTS and James Payne Airport Service are the town&squo;s only taxi services. Town officials agreed that taxi services in Tryon are a needed asset in the town.

Town attorney Bailey Nager also told council that from his and staff&squo;s perspective, the ordinance has proven to be a bit of a headache.

The town requires that a taxi service must get approval from town council for any increase in vehicles. The town also regulates what taxi services can charge to customers so one taxi service can&squo;t undercut another in town.

The recommendations for any changes to the town&squo;s ordinance will likely come before council during its August meeting. Tryon council in December changed the taxi cab rates on the books for the first time since 1990. The current rates include $5 within city limits, and trips to the Asheville or Greenville/Spartanburg Airports are at $70.

Town council did request that RTS park their vehicles in the rear of the Melrose Inn, where the service is located, which Mee said is not a problem.