Albert Lea looking for drivers after taxi service shutters

[anvplayer video=”5157809″ station=”998128″]

(ABC 6 News) – If you’ve ever been left waiting for a ride, seeing an empty rideshare screen can be quite a disappointment. People in Albert Lea say that’s what they’re dealing with every time they need a ride.

That doesn’t mean there are zero licensed taxi drivers in Albert Lea. It means drivers are few and far between, and they’re not working for Uber or Lyft. Former Uber and Lyft drivers say there likely aren’t local rideshare drivers because the apps don’t generate steady income in small towns.

“They would get like 62 percent of everything I do. And it’s my car, my gas,” Luverne Bock said.

Luverne Bock and his wife Wendy started with Uber, but soon created Vern’s Ride Service.

“The town is really desperate right now. There were no rides. I mean, I can only do so many at a time,” Bock said.

Another transportation service in town is the Senior Services of Freeborn county. Executive Director April Shuur says seniors who can’t drive are worried about missing their doctor’s appointments. Since the taxi service closed, they have seen an average of five additional ride requests a day.

Shur says they’re also short six volunteer drivers.

“We’ve already noticed a slight increase. And it becomes more and more apparent every day,” Shuur said.

Albert Lea Mayor Rich Murray says the city is going to work together with people like Vern to see what they can do about getting more ride services in the city.