The city of Lincoln allows taxi businesses to operate by permit
only. Currently, there is only one taxi service in the city, A Green
A Green Cab has been operating less than a year in Lincoln.
When the business came to the city, there was another taxi service
already operating. Soon after the city permitted Green Cab, the
previous service shut down, once again dropping the available
offerings from two down to one.
When Alpha Omega first came to the council, they explained that
running a taxi service is not their primary objective in Lincoln.
Their real business is built around providing transportation for
non-emergency medical services. They provide transportation to
doctors' appointments and specialize in dealing with people with
disabilities such as confinement to wheelchairs.
The company representatives explained that they can operate their
primary business in Lincoln without the city's permission, but they
have found in their business currently operating in Decatur that
adding the taxi permit to their business plan is a good practice.
They said that in Decatur they started out as a medical transport
firm, but many times their clients called them wanting rides that
were not related to medical needs. At first they turned down the
requests because they didn't have a taxi permit in Decatur, but they
ended up getting a permit and adding taxi services to their
offerings, and it has been beneficial to them as a business as well
as for their clients.
At the company's first appearance before the council in Lincoln,
Melody Anderson, acting that night as mayor pro tem, expressed a
concern that the services this business wanted to offer would be in
conflict with the services offered by Logan Mason Public
Transportation, being run through Community Action. She indicated
that she wanted to have a discussion with Community Action before
acting on the Alpha Omega request.
Before leaving that first council meeting, the company
representatives said one difference between their services and those
of Community Action is that the business is paid by insurance
providers in many cases. He said the insurance companies of patients
needing services pay Alpha Omega directly, whereas Community Action
does not have that in their transportation program.
At the meeting on March 25, Anderson said she had an opportunity
to speak with Angie Jenkins at Community Action about the LMPT
program. Jenkins had told her the program currently has six
wheelchair vans, with two more coming in the future. The program
does provide non-emergency medical transportation and they do go out
of town as needed by their clients. Jenkins had also said the
program was working to get greater service into the Mason County
area, but building that territory has been slower than in Logan
Jenkins also advised Anderson that the program was working to
become an insurance-paid service provider and does expect to
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Anderson said she was a little confused about the
conversations at the March 11 meeting. She wanted to know if the
firm actually anticipates offering taxi services in Lincoln.
The Alpha Omega representative, who identified himself only as
Anthony, said their primary goal was to offer non-emergency medical
transportation. However, considering that in Decatur they received
calls for other transportation, the firm had decided to start out in
Lincoln with the taxi permit so they would have that ability if they
Anthony said he understood the community concerns about the LMPT
program, but at the moment at least, his firm will offer the
insurance program that LMPT does not. In addition, many of their
transportation requests will come directly from the insurance
providers they are already working with.
It was also mentioned once again that Alpha Omega doesn't need
the city's permission to operate their medical transportation
program in Lincoln. They only need permission to add the taxi
Anthony also commented that if LMPT was adding vans, that was an
indication the need for this type of transportation in Logan County
Michelle Bauer also commented about the LMPT program, saying she
believed it was a grant-funded program. While it may be going well
for the time being, there is always a possibility the funding could
be cut or done away with in the future.
As the discussions came to an end, the council agreed to have a
public meeting regarding allowing another taxi service into the
city. By city code, Alpha Omega must pay to advertise the public
hearing, which will be on April 7.
The city is required to contact A Green Cab so that they may have
an opportunity to attend the hearing and voice their opinions on the
matter. The public may also attend the hearing and offer comments
pertinent to the topic.
[By NILA SMITH]