By: Roderick McClain
Of the nearly 200 taxis operating in the Wilmington area, 155 are licensed to work within a five-mile radius of downtown. The license, or W-number, means a driver can patrol streets heavy with foot-traffic in search of flag down fares.
Drivers without W-numbers can work at the airport and the beaches, but they can’t, even if crowds are overflowing, pick up clients downtown.
WHQR’s Roderick McClain rode along in a late-night, non-W-number taxi and has this account.
“Do you need a cab, sir?”
That’s Josh Price of Price is Right Taxi. He’s got his first fare of the night.
“Would you be willing to take me and my friends downtown?
“Yeah, sure. How many people?”
“Okay, no problem. Nice way to start the day. Downtown run from Wrightsville Beach.”
On weekends Price punches the clock at eight thirty or nine.
“Usually I just float around until I see how things are at different bars. Just kind of sit and wait.”
When Price started his company last year, the waitlist for W-numbers was so long he didn’t bother. Without that precious number, he can only pick up clients at the airport and the beaches.
There is no official map identifying exactly where non-W-number taxis can and cannot operate, but it’s clear that Front Street, where he stops to let passengers unload, is off-limits.
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