Posted: October 1, 2015 at 7:30 pm
By Jennifer Armstrong, Laura Haight and Justin Moore
Andrew Vecchio might just be the right person to put an end to Yellow Cab’s monopoly of the taxi service in Morgantown.
Vecchio, a Morgantown native who graduated from the College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University, left his job in the oil and gas industry to start MoTown Taxi.
Vecchio determined there was a desperate need for a second taxi service in Morgantown after sitting down with his father’s employees who use Yellow Cab on a daily basis.
“Every single one of them has said, ‘The cab service in Morgantown is the absolute worst,’” Vecchio said.
While other prospective owners have failed, Vecchio believes he is fully prepared to operate MoTown Taxi.
In January, Vecchio filed a certificate of need for a second cab company in Morgantown with the Public Service Commission.
He would have automatically received the certificate, but Bobby King, the owner of Yellow Cab, immediately protested Vecchio’s request.
King has protested every single applicant who has tried start a second cab company to Morgantown for the last 15 years.
In the past, something has always gone wrong: the owner wasn’t financially competent, didn’t have a business plan or couldn’t prove a need for a second service in Morgantown.
However, with the help of his family friend who doubles as his lawyer, Vecchio prepared a strong case with 20 witnesses testifying Yellow Cab couldn’t meet the needs of Monongalia County.
The judge eventually ruled in favor of MoTown Taxi, however YellowCab protested again by filing an appeal.
Now, Vecchio is anxiously waiting to hear whether or not he will get a license to operate MoTown Taxi.
“We are very confident we’ll get the certificate because the judge already ruled in our favor,” Vecchio said. “There is till a very minute chance we might not get this license.”
Although Yellow Cab insists that there is no need for two companies, Vecchio’s business plan accounts for both services to thrive in Morgantown.
With MoTown Taxi, Vecchio hopes to bring in new clientele who currently won’t use Yellow Cab due to unreliability. He believes he’ll bring in more business from the Cheat Lake area, with middle class residents who don’t typically travel to downtown Morgantown.
MoTown Taxi will start with six 2016 Ford Transits, one of those being a wheelchair accessible car—something Vecchio believes the Morgantown community desperately needs.
In addition to the brand new cars, his service will also feature an app that will allow customers to summon a cab from the app, view wait times, track their taxi and calculate trip cost.
Vecchio said Yellow Cab currently uses pen and paper to take calls before dispatching their cabs, creating longer wait times.
Each MoTown Taxi cab will also be equipped with a GPS.
MoTown Taxi will accept PayPal and credit cards in addition to cash.
Vecchio hopes all of these updates will pressure Yellow Cab to update their service.
“Yellow Cab either needs to update their system or fall to the wayside,” Vecchio said
Andrew Vecchio is waiting for the Public Service Commission of West Virginia’s final decision. He says that after receiving the license he will have MoTown Taxi up and running within a few weeks.
“It’s a black spot on the Morgantown community right now, that’s why we’re ready to go.”