Concerns Raised Over New Cab Company

Wichita Falls residents may find getting a cab a little easier. But, a new cab service in the Falls is anything but new and people are raising some serious questions about their safety.

City Councilors voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a taxicab franchise for Claudio Ramirez Jr. His father is the former owner of the now-shut-down All American Cab Company. The new company, Wichita Star Taxi, is using the same cars and drivers as All American and is owned by the same family.

Councilors raised serious concerns over old business practices associated with All American. Common problems with the former company include multiple business names and phone numbers, many of which didn't work, and vacant or locked buildings, cab companies are required to operate 24/7.

Ramirez said he plans to clean up the family business. "We guarantee that we will be walking the line straight," he said.

But, concerns were also raised about the safety of Ramirez's vehicles. Of the 15 listed on his application, six have been in crashes, one salvaged and rebuilt, and one has been totaled. Ramirez maintains his vehicles are safe.

The franchise was only granted for six months, as opposed to the typical five years. Councilors will use that time to evaluate Wichita Star Taxi and to consider revising current city cab ordinance. City Council also waived the 30-day waiting period to begin operations because of a huge increase in demand since All American shut down.