Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Yellow Cab's only Colorado Springs competitor ceases operations

by WAYNE HEILMAN wayneh@gazette.com - Published: January 23, 2014

Springs Cab LLC shut down earlier this month to seek new investors so the company could buy newer taxis for its fleet, leaving Yellow Cab as the only taxi provider serving the Colorado Springs area.

Ali Gulaid, one of the company's three partners, said the company is trying to raise $300,000 from investors for about 25 taxis to replace 2004 and 2005 vehicles that are too old to be used in its fleet under Colorado Public Utilities Commission regulations. He said the partners couldn't afford to continue operations and shut down Jan. 5, but he hopes Springs Cab can resume operation "as soon as possible" after securing new investors.

Compounding the company's problems, Colorado Springs Airport officials suspended Springs Cab's ground transportation permit Jan. 15 after airport officials confirmed an anonymous tip that the company's liability insurance had expired with no new coverage in place, said Troy Stover, the airport's operations manager.

Springs Cab faces fines totaling $31,762.50 from the PUC for operating Sept. 5-20 without required liability insurance, and has been ordered to attend a Feb. 25 hearing on the matter before an administrative law judge in Denver. According to documents filed with the commission, the company paid about $1,500 in fines last year for several record-keeping violations, including failing to have an inspection report in one of the cabs and failing to keep accurate time records for two drivers.

Springs Cab started operating in 2011 on a shoestring budget, with four taxis dispatched out of a sparsely furnished office attached to a self-storage warehouse on Powers Boulevard. The company built its fleet to about 30 taxis and won authority from the commission in 2012 to expand its operations from El Paso County and Denver International Airport to an area roughly bounded by Buena Vista, Limon, Longmont and Walsenberg. It gave Springs Cab a territory stretching more than 200 miles north to south and nearly 200 miles east to west.

Yellow Cab, owned by Chicago-based Veolia Transportation on Demand, has operated with little or no competition for most of its 92-year history in Colorado Springs. Several competitors have operated for a few years in the area before shutting down.

Veolia, owned by French water giant Veolia Environment SA, also operates the SuperShuttle airport shuttle service and taxi operations in Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins.

Fred Hair, Yellow Cab's general manager, said the company has added a couple of taxis to its 150-vehicle fleet since Springs Cab stopped operating.

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234

Twitter @wayneheilman

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