ALLEGAN, Mich. — In a small town with no rideshare apps, a local man started a taxi service to fill the void and make the community safer.
Without a car in Allegan, there is hardly any way to get around, said Sydney Brown, who recently moved to Allegan from Chicago for work.
"There's no Uber, there's no Lyft, and I'm from a big city where we use [those] quite often," Brown said.
The rideshare app dead zone poses problems for local bars, whose bartenders urge patrons not to drink and drive.
"I've had to take keys before," said Christina Arndt, a bartender at Bubba's Sports Bar & Grill. "We get really packed...I just want to make sure people get home safe."
With that in mind, lifelong resident Mike Jones started Allegan Taxi Service. He offers flat rate rides in town and metered rides outside of the city.
"Somebody I know was at the bar one night and needed a ride home, and he called me at [2 a.m.]," Jones said. "I went and picked him up and thought Allegan needed a ride program."
Since kicking off in May of 2019, Allegan Taxi has added several drivers. Around 20-25 people use the service each day, Jones said.
"Most of my business is taking people back and forth to work," he said. "That's the big thing around here because a lot of people can't drive. [I also do] hospital runs. If you ambulance into the hospital and don't have a ride home, they call me."
The company is in the process of creating an app and plans to add more drivers soon. For now, they leave cards at local bars and rely on word-of-mouth for business.
"Allegan is growing very well, and the city has a bunch of things coming up," Jones said. "And [we'll] be around to help them move around."
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