By Mark Waite
Three former Pahrump Valley Taxi drivers plan to file an application with the Nevada Transportation Authority tomorrow asking to start up their own cab company.
Larry Miller, Tina DiNapoli and Rich Canapary testified at the Nevada Transportation Authority revocation hearing of Jit Mann, owner of Pahrump Valley Taxi, last Thursday in Las Vegas. The NTA has already suspended Mann’s license.
NTA Hearing Examiner George Assad extended the suspension to allow an investigation into Pahrump Valley Taxi’s finances and his ability to operate in compliance with state statutes and regulations. Assad scheduled another hearing for April 18.
The NTA denied a request by Mann to lift his suspension, allowing him to go back in business.
Miller said they will name their company Nye County Cab, while an accompanying limousine service will be called Southwest Sedan and Limo. Miller said they already bought a couple Lincolns for the limo service. They plan to buy a few late model Chevrolets for taxis and a handicapped van, possibly even a stretch limousine down the road.
“Basically if they like our marketing plan they’ll give us a nod and we have 90 days to get our licenses, acquire the vehicles and get up to speed. We actually figure if we get a nod we can do it a lot quicker than 90 days because we’ve done a lot of the background work and paid a lot of the fees,” Miller said.
He said the requirements include forming the limited liability corporation, purchasing cabs, having them metered, putting the logos on and having them ready to run within 90 days.
“To tell you the truth, I’m not even worried about competing against him, the way he does business, the way he thinks about it. Our drivers, they’re really well known. Tina and Mike are really well liked, the night drivers, they know this community. People really like them. It’s almost like family,” Miller said.
Mann has complained the drivers walked off the job. The drivers didn’t quit driving even though the cabs were in bad shape, but they eventually stopped working for Mann after they found out they could be fined $10,000 or jailed due to the condition of the cabs, Miller said.
“The innuendo was he was in Vegas and he wasn’t informed about the cabs because we stopped filling out daily inspection sheets because if we turned in anything that said there was something wrong with the cab they would just throw them away anyway,” Miller said.
DiNapoli told the NTA their customers weren’t safe, the passengers liked the drivers but not the cabs. She said the drivers have known their passengers a long time and didn’t want to put their lives in jeopardy.
Mann proposed to the NTA he could put two vehicles back in service. He wanted to rehabilitate a wheelchair van, which had a working meter, but Miller said the handicapped lift doesn’t work and there are wires hanging under the dash. Another cab he wanted to put into service had a cracked head or head gasket, he said.
Mann told the NTA he offered to live in Pahrump to supervise the company better. DiNapoli said in five years with the company she only saw Mann in Pahrump perhaps four times.
Mann decided to hire an attorney after the previous NTA hearing in which his license was suspended in late February. His attorney, Brian Holthus, said the taxi cab drivers’ comments to the NTA were just an opinion, not sworn testimony.