The duel between parties applying to operate a taxi service in Pahrump has been described as a David vs. Goliath battle.
It pits a group of former cab drivers for Pahrump Valley Taxi, who have formed Nye County Cab, dba Daytripper LLC, and a company that operates shuttles from most Las Vegas casinos to McCarran International Airport and medical trips from Pahrump, Integrity Taxi.
The Nevada Transportation Authority held two days of hearings on Monday and Tuesday of last week to hear proposals from both applicants. The contested hearings have delayed the startup of a Pahrump taxi service.
Attorney Jim Jimmerson, a co-managing member of Integrity Taxi with his wife Carol, said his hearing on Sept. 17 was continued until Oct. 3 because of a high number of witnesses. The NTA is expected to make a decision on Oct. 17 to accept an application, he said.
But speaking of Larry Miller, who together with Rich Canapary and Tina DiNapoli from Nye County Cab, Jimmerson said after their presentation, “the staff at the end of his hearing Monday said they could not recommend approval of his application.”
“The NTA should choose us because we have a better ability to last and provide a greater service for the years ahead. We’re not-fly-by nights,” Jimmerson said.
Miller said Daytripper LLC proved their market to the transportation authority.
Jimmerson said his company put on 19 witnesses at the NTA hearing, including county Commission Chairman Butch Borasky, town board members Bill Dolan and Tom Waters, Pahrump Senior Center Transportation Director Don McIntosh, Golden Gaming manager Jeremy Jenson, and even the house manager for The Chicken Ranch brothel.
“They didn’t call a single witness or single business person besides themselves,” Jimmerson said of his competitors.
Miller said most of the witnesses testified they were in favor of a cab company in Pahrump and were non-committal to either side. “They didn’t know very much about us, but they realized the need for a cab company, which I’m sure everyone in town would agree with that,” he said.
Miller said he protested after Integrity Taxi had cars entered in a Fourth of July parade in Pahrump, on the grounds the NTA rules state applicants aren’t supposed to advertise or give out their phone number until their Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity is approved. The NTA ruled that regulation didn’t apply because Integrity wasn’t soliciting for business outright, namely rides. But their interpretation meant the Daytripper LLC company, the former cabbies, didn’t aggressively court the community like Integrity, Miller said.
Jimmerson said he worries about the David vs. Goliath image and the fact he doesn’t live in Pahrump. But he said Integrity Taxi would be an established company with a dedicated dispatch system 24 hours per day, including computers to monitor vehicles by GPS.
Integrity Taxi collected 600 signatures on a petition and 150 letters of support, Jimmerson said. The Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce sent a letter of support. Integrity also sent out self-addressed, stamped cards addressed to NTA Commissioner George Assad asking residents to sign their name supporting their application. An accompanying letter stated, “we believe you will find our qualifications superior with nearly a decade of experience in transportation. We have competent management, new and late-modeled vehicles and we will employ skilled dispatchers and chauffeurs.” It mentions a job fair July 12 in which they received more than 150 applications.
“All of our chauffeurs will have a thorough knowledge of the streets and highways of Pahrump and Nye County. They will have passed drug tests and criminal background checks. They will have been issued and will display taxi permits with their names and picture. Utilizing late modeled vehicles, handicapped vans and Toyota Scions we will conduct inspections of our vehicles on a daily basis and use taxi meters,” the letter states.
Jimmerson said between 600 and 700 cards were mailed in to the NTA, a 4 to 5 percent return, exceeding his prediction of a 2 to 3 percent return rate.
“They admittedly spent $30,000 already. We don’t have $30,000. We’re upset we’re up to $8,000 in legal fees to pay for this, which would’ve been money out of our LLC to support the cab company,” Miller said.
Miller said NTA unfairly tried to connect the cab drivers with the former Pahrump Valley Taxi Company, whose previous owner, Jit Mann, had his license suspended in January and revoked in July. An advertisement by Integrity Taxi in July stated, “we have been told by our friends and neighbors here in Pahrump and throughout the county that they have been greatly disserved by the existing taxi company through some of its former and/or present employees.”
“We were drivers, we didn’t have any influence how they ran that company. We didn’t break any laws or rules,” Miller said.
Miller said Integrity is being overly optimistic anticipating 80 taxi rides per day. “I doubt in the busiest days of the year we ever had 80 trips, let alone every day,” he said. Daytripper LLC projects giving 14,000 cab rides per year, which is less than 40 per day.
Integrity Taxi also wants to start up a shuttle from Pahrump to Las Vegas that will stop at the Silverton Casino, the South Strip transit center, McCarran and someplace in the center of the Las Vegas Strip for $24.95 each way. Miller said the startup of taxi service is dependent heavily on the success of the shuttle service, which he predicted wouldn’t succeed with the proposed rates and schedules. He added Integrity put in a disclaimer they could discontinue the shuttle service, whereby the taxi service has to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Jimmerson denied Miller’s accusation, saying the taxi and shuttle service can each stand on its own financially. He expects to operate at a loss initially, while he said Daytripper LLC expects to make a profit the first day. Jimmerson said he doesn’t understand how his competitors can criticize his shuttle operations when they aren’t going to provide the service themselves.
Both applicants agreed on one thing, both said there wouldn’t be room in the Pahrump market for two taxi cab companies.