By LUCY PERRY
Times Staff Writer
Risa Cole's new taxi service, Going Our Way, isn't exactly going the way the entrepreneur had originally envisioned.
"She needs to make sure she's covered," Brazil Mayor Kenny Crabb said, explaining the city has an ordinance which all businesses must follow. Not only must they register at the Clerk's Office for a $10 fee, he stressed that Cole must also have a chauffeur's license and obtain extra vehicle insurance if accepting paying riders in her car. In order to legitimately receive an income for the taxi service, Cole must be bonded for $100,000 when asking riders to pay.
Because of all the stipulations, what she had intended to be a transportation service has basically become an errand service since starting up about a month ago.
Cole claims she has obtained the chauffeur's license, but for financial reasons, she won't be able to purchase the required bonding and insurance to run a taxi service. As a result, customers of Going Our Way will now be asked for donations only when it comes to getting a lift with Cole, who still can offer an errand service for a fee. That section of the business doesn't require the extra credentials the mayor mentioned, said Cole.
"I was going to charge for the rides in the beginning," Cole said, "but I can't afford to pay the money up front for the bonding and insurance." She specified that as a result of the city ordinance and bonding issues, customers wishing to contribute any donations must do so outside of the vehicle.
"Money cannot be exchanged in this car," she admitted. "I could get fined big time." Meanwhile, she's considering hosting fundraisers to raise money toward achieving the requirements.
In the meantime, Crabb hopes she lives up to the free ride-promise.
"It's really and truly for the protection of the driver and the public," he said.