Eagle River Residents Ask for Taxi Service
According to residents, Eagle River's Public Transportation System is lacking
UPDATE: At a meeting Monday night, residents spoke up to say they have given up on calling a cab. Around eight people took turns speaking at the commission meeting – including Anchorage Assemblymember Debbie Ossiander.
After hearing the testimony from residents, the commission determined a formal inquiry is needed to find out if more taxi permits should be issued to specifically service the Eagle River area.
The commission will now collect data from dispatch companies, bar owners and local residents, but commission members acknowledge data from cab companies might not reflect the actual demand.
A public notice will be issued before the hearing begins and everyone is welcome to comment.
EAGLE RIVER - Catching a taxi in the Eagle River area can be difficult, according to many residents.
“I have heard some pretty horrible stories about people standing and stranded and unable to get anywhere,” said Anchorage Assemblymember Debbie Ossiander, who represents the Chugiak/Eagle River area.
Now, locals are calling for their own service.
Monday night, members of the Anchorage Transportation Commission heard testimony from a number of people about a lack of taxi service, and an overall lack of public transportation, in the Eagle River area.
"I think it would be a good idea to give a license in Eagle River and not just force us to use Anchorage licensed cabs,” said area resident and real estate broker Eva Lokan, who didn’t attend the commission meeting, but supports the idea.
“People do just not have another outlet if they've had too much to drink, and it's easier for the bartender to call, and pick them up and everybody is safe.”
Blake has lived in the area for 13 years and has watched two taxi services try and survive.
"I do remember talking to one of the drivers, saying their license had been rescinded and we haven't seen one since,” said Blake. “There hasn't been one for 10 or 15 years.”
Assemblywoman Debbie Ossiander says she plans to talk with the Anchorage Transportation Commission about solutions.
"At this moment there is a taxi service in Wasilla that's interested in serving Eagle River. So I plan to go the Transportation Commission and let them know what I’m doing in terms of drafting code to try to address the needs of my constituents,” said Ossiander.
One woman speaking at the Transportation Commission Monday night saidshe wants to run a taxi service in the Eagle River area - for free - on a three-month trial basis to see if there's enough need to warrant licensing a company there.
However, the commission itself is responsible for collecting the data. Following Monday night's meeting, commission members will decide whether they will conduct a formal hearing on the necessity of new permits being issued for the area.