Taxi No More in Freeport

By: Chip Brewster Email
By: Chip Brewster Email

FREEPORT (WIFR) -- If you don't have a car you may find yourself stranded in Freeport after the city's only cab company shuts down. The result is a dramatic shrinking in transportation options.

"It's not that I want to, I don't have any choice."

Frank McGee has owned and operated Freeport's only cab service for the last 11 years.

"I haven't made enough money to pay all my bills and my taxes and stuff and I got behind on them."

Come Friday at midnight the Pretzel City will lose the Freeport City Service Cab Company to the burdens of a bad economy.

"You know, try to help people. I enjoy what I did."

At Freeport cab's peak the company employed nearly two dozen people and responded to more than four hundred calls per day. Now dispatchers volunteer their time and pick-ups average just over one hundred per day.

Frank says the problems started three years ago when the city stopped providing roughly $65,000 of annual subsidies -- a major blow to his finances.

"Try to figure out how to stretch a buck."

Despite the loss Frank pressed on even lowering his in city fare to three dollars to keep business up but in the end it just wasn't enough.

"I have taken all the money that I have made, put it back into the cab company for the people to ride and I don't have any money left to support the town."

McGee didn't operate your ordinary taxi service. As an example he would frequently let his customers pay him back later if they couldn't afford the ride at the time.

Since 2009 Pretzel City Transit has operated as the public transportation for Freeport but to get the same three dollar fare you have to book your trip in advance otherwise it's five dollars. Plus they don't operate overnight or on Sundays or holidays. Now the closest taxi service for Freeport will be at least 20 miles away.


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