There is a lack of sufficient taxi service in the area, said Police Chief Davis Woodard, who welcomed the addition of Paquin’s company. A former taxi-operator in Sylva passed away over the summer, leaving a gap in services.
However, Paquin’s hopes of monopoly may be short-lived. The wife of that taxi driver who died has decided to renew her license, she drove for the operation along with her husband, Town Manager Paige Roberson said.
While Paquin will be a one-man operation, he says he will be on-call at all times.
Paquin believes there is a need for taxi service in the area — from the college crowd at Western Carolina University and Southwestern Community College needing to get home after a night out to elderly residents without vehicles who need help with errands.
His cost will be $2.50 plus $2 per mile, discounts to seniors or veterans. Although, he said he can’t compete with the prices of Jackson County Transit, he hopes to offer a faster more personalized service.
Paquin was a former taxi driver and police officer in New Hampshire and Vermont. He hopes to be in business by Oct. 1 after getting the decals fitted on his businesses’ van.
A license to provide a taxi service in Sylva is the only business license that requires approval by the Board, said Roberson. She said the rule was put in place due to safety concerns unique to the business of being a taxi driver, but thinks the process will be changed so taxi licenses can be approved at the administrative level by the town manager and the police chief instead.