BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Some Western New Yorkers are complaining about “taxi nightmares” on New Years Eve. Dozens of viewers wrote to News 4 saying they waited up to two hours for a ride home that night. But leaders with Liberty Cab, the biggest taxi company in the area, say the most recent proposal to bring ride sharing here falls short and needs to be regulated.
President Bill Yuhnke says he would call his New Years Eve cab service a success, overall. He had about six thousand calls in just the one night. He said, “If I got 5 complaints on those 6 thousand calls, that’s a pretty good job.”
We saw more then just 5 complaints about overall cab service up on our Facebook page. One of them from Kaylynn Adkins from Tonawanda. She said, “We called the Liberty Cab service and turns out we were forgotten. They said it would take another hour, we told them this place is closing we cant sit outside for another hour it’s freezing cold.”
The plan was for a night of bowling and pizza in Tonawanda. They booked on Liberty’s “Curb App” two hours before they wanted to be picked up.
When the cab didn’t show, they called. Adkins said, “They had no recollection of our reservation. They said it would take an hour, I said , “That’s unacceptable, we booked two hours ago,” and got hung up on. And then I called again, and said the exact same thing, and spoke to a different representative. I complained we couldn’t wait there for an hour, and got hung up on, again.”
Liberty had 400 cars on the road after 7pm Saturday. But is it enough? Yuhnke said, “We could always use more, but you gotta remember, we’re still mandated by the City of Buffalo on how many vehicles we can put out there.”
Yuhnke said the app and the service isn’t full proof. He said riders in Buffalo should expect a wait on a night like New Years. “40 minutes on New Years Eve? That’s pretty good.”
Despite this, Western New Yorkers like Adkins are calling for a ride sharing service here. She said, “It’s a joke that Buffalo doesn’t have it. Anywhere else in the U.S. has it.”
It’s been y\Yunhke’s mission to fight bringing ride sharing here, a responsibility he doesn’t love, but says is necessary to protect his business and his employees. He said insurance and background checks are two of the issues he has with it.
But now, he says there is room for both in Buffalo. And despite his fight, he sees it coming here soon. He said, “I can’t wait for that to happen, and you’ll be covering stories about being overcharged.”
But riders like Adkins tell us a trip through liberty from Buffalo to Tonawanda has cost her $50 dollars in the past. In terms of communication problems, Yuhnke says not all of his employees are based here in Western New York.
He outsourced some of his dispatch to the Philippines on New Years Even night. Moving forward, Yuhnke is looking to get temporary permits on big nights like New Years.