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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest party nights of the year in downtown Wilmington. Often with big crowds, come big problems, but this year Wilmington police say there were no major issues except for the shortage of taxi cabs. Several downtown businesses like Orton’s Underground agree.

“I don’t even know how people all get home a lot of times,” said Rich Anderson, Orton’s Underground general manager. “Every year it’s the same thing, a lot of people and no way to get home. They call the cab companies and they just can’t get a cab.”

The police department agrees that the lack of cabs has become an issue in the past. Several cab drivers we spoke to at Wilmington International Airport say there are enough cabs in the county but there is not enough permits from the city of Wilmington which allows these drivers to pick up people in downtown.

“They call them non-W’s which means they don’t have a Wilmington taxi permit,” said cab driver Nile Johnson. “If they get caught going into downtown Wilmington they get a citation saying they are illegally soliciting downtown.”

While some cab drivers say more permits should be allowed, others say they would be happy if the city would make an exemption on busy party nights like Fourth of July, Halloween and New Year’s.

“The city of Wilmington on certain nights of the year, maybe three nights of the year, should have a clause that all cabs are permitted to work the whole county for them three nights,” said James Allen, cab driver. “That way everybody can get home.”

WWAY tried contacting several members of city council Monday. We did hear from Councilman Charlie Rivenbark who thinks a permit exemption on busy party nights is worth looking into.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest Redneck Across the River

    So, your wife was thinking about swapping you for a Canadian soldier…….might have been in her best interest to have done so. Maybe you’re not taking good care of her???

  • RSimmons

    Wife and I were downtown until about 12:30 am and it was pretty civilized. The thugs from the projects were not there waiting to rob us and the rednecks from across the river weren’t there wanting to fight us. Kudos to Wilmington PD for keeping it safe for us genteel folks.

    We met a few of the Canadian soldiers who were in town from Camp Lejeune Even with quite a few beers in them they were very polite and well behaved. My wife either wanted to adopt them or dump me for one of them, I’m not sure which it was.
    BTW Our boys seemed to behave themselves for the most part too, hoo-rah!

  • new beginning

    I agree with James Allen cabs and even Limo’s should be allowed to work on the three major holidays. Yellow cab, Port City, and Kats are the companies with the most vehicles and yet they don’t have all their vehicles on the the street but they are the first to get permits when Inspector Bluford start handing them out. Independent companies have to wait three to six years on the waiting list. He his also real quick to give companies such as Pyramid and Checkers permits. There needs to be a change in the City ordinance and new Inspector.

  • fleebailey

    Why not let the market place determine the number of cabs, instead of city council and a government official? I have read they do not want people taking just the cream and not being available on a Tuesday. Friday and Saturday nights are a public safety issue and should be more important. Other companies’s are not protected from competion.

  • Guest666

    You’ll never find all the cabs on the street at the same time. There are day and night drivers. Many leave their cabs on the lot while they are off, and some take them home for an extra fee. There are spares, so in reality, there are far more cabs than drivers, anyhow. Also, some drivers choose not to deal with intoxicated passengers, so they work the airport or wait for a call at a different location. Drivers lease or “rent” their cabs, so they are free to choose where they want to work.

  • m

    about handing w numbers to pyramids taxi company very quick , i m sure that u do not know what r u talking about becuause getting w numbner is not that easy prosess to be handed that quick !!! plus if u go to the w numbers waiting list at bluford office u will find pyramids taxi appllied for one in 2008 and never got it till this moment so do not talk and say stuff about something u not sure about .
    aboout letting the non w numbers and the airport cabs to be downtown in busy nights i think its acrazy idea beacause there are lots of w number cabs with the bigger companies that sets in their yard all night long in a busy nights like 4th of jully or new year night so these big cab company has in total alomsst 110 w to 120 w so if we said that they r all working at these nights u talking aboout 330 passenger each trip if we say average 3 passeners in each trip and u can say in 10 trips for each that will be 3300 passengers and that is only the big companies without counting the other small cab companies !
    my point is the city has to manage and talk to cab companies owners enough time before big holidaies and make sure that the will keep their w number cabs on the road in that busy nights and the city has to watch that happening too .
    another idea the city can do too that they can provide small cab companies more w numbers like 2 or 3w to each and see h that will work ?
    one of the most important reasons that small cab companies is growing very fast is that the have better looking and newer cars and vans and in perfect shape and drives very nice with everything working fine starting from heat and ac ….ex that is why they get more customers and hears customers all the time complain about the othere big cab companies vans that stinks and drive very unsafe cause of major mechanic problems so the city must have another person or 2 with blueford to manage that correctly and make sure that all the cabs is in good shape inside and outside and drive safl

  • GuestHappy

    My son used to drive a taxi, but he finally quit. He got tired of having to clean up vomit about 20 times a night because most of the fares were drinking. Then there was the other problem of strangers riding behind him (possibly armed) and no glass or any kind of partition for safety. He also had drug deals go down in back of his cab. It just got too scary. Man, am I glad he’s out of that now!

  • Ihatestupidpeople

    LOL I agree Guest Redneck….

    Marines, Thugs, and Rednecks oh my. The OP should probably just stay in his perfect bubble.

  • m

    1-the city of wilmington has to meet and talk to the 3 big cab companies enough time before any big holiday and make sure the at least 90% of their cabs will be in services at any busy night during the year and they have to hire one or 2 officers beside blueford to insure and manage and check how safe and clean the cabs cause i m sure that there r lots of cabs stinks and not mechanically safe to drive and also to check the drivers taxi permites because one of the most important reasons for small cab companies to grow that fast that their vans is very clean and new and safe that is why they get most of the customers and start to make more money and their business is growing fast .

    2-the small w numbers cab business for sure will be working during any big holiday cause for sure they want to make money and so their drivers and they r always working down town such as AAA costal or pyramids or river side or tidal taxi ex… May be if the city will provide 2 or 3 w nummbers to each small cab compaines that will put more cabs in service because most of these small companies are leasing their cab and their drivers can not stay home and make money they have to work to pay the lease and make extra money for their life expensices and that will put more cabs and service for people and will help to lower the shortage of cabs big time .

    3-for the non w number cabs or the airport cabs , before they start their cab business they knew that they will not be permitted to down town area no matter if its busy or not just like the w number cabs that has no airprot permite they can not stay at the airport no motter if its busy or not so if the city open it up for the airport cabs to be downtown in busy nights then the w numbers cabs with no airport permites should be able to work too at the airport when its really busy that will make it fair enough for all cabs .


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