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Published: 12/27/2006

Local taxi, limo firms poised for new year's eve

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Matt Ward, of Checker Cab, expects to make at least $400 in fares and tips from New Year's celebrators. Matt Ward, of Checker Cab, expects to make at least $400 in fares and tips from New Year's celebrators.
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Matt Ward loves New Year's Eve, but his ardor has nothing to do with midnight kisses, champagne toasts, and all-night parties.

The Checker Cab Co. driver and accounts manager expects to make $400 or more in fares and tips from Toledo-area resident ushering in 2007. That's far above the $200 to $300 for a typical Saturday, which is usually the busiest night of the week.

"This is the one day of the year we look forward to," Mr. Ward said. "It's really good money."

Various Toledo-area cab and limousine companies expect this New Year's Eve and Day to be busier than normal with revelers seeking transportation to and from bars, parties, and homes.

Last weekend was more hectic than Christmas last year because the holiday capped a three-day weekend, and New Year's should be bustling too, said Cindy Greulich, daytime dispatcher for Yellow Cab of Toledo.

"We love it," said Ms. Greulich, who plans to work on New Year's Eve to help out.

Dagwoods Limousine Service booked the last of its seven vehicles yesterday, and orders started coming in earlier than normal this year.

In a first for the company, two 14-passenger vehicles are headed to local country clubs concerned about keeping members - and roadways - safe, said Todd Daggett, owner.

Stiffer laws have made arranging transportation a higher priority in the last few years, Mr. Daggett said. "People just don't want to drink and drive and get caught," he said.

Black & White Cab Co. for years has taken part in a year-round program in which participating bar owners pay $3 each for taxi rides for customers who become drunk after driving to their establishments.

The rest of the fare - roughly $20, for example, for a trip from downtown Toledo to Sylvania - is split by the cab company and Anheuser-Busch Inc. through distributor Treu House of Munch Inc. of Northwood, said Chuck Kerekes, Black & White's dispatch supervisor.

New Year's Eve, he said, will be "crazy busy," as usual. "That's one of our biggest nights of the year."

Although New Year's Eve business was "over the top" in 1999 because of the end of the millennium, recent years have been strong too, said Doug Reinhard, president of White Knight Limousines and Toledo Limousine Service.

Most of his 13-vehicle fleet is booked, Mr. Reinhard said; the firms get repeat customers for New Year.

Especially popular is a luxurious 40-foot 35-passenger motor coach with leather seating and two flat-screen televisions hooked to a stereo system and DVD player, he said. "It's like a lounge, a mobile lounge type of vehicle."

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:

jmckinnon@theblade.com

or 419-724-6087.



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