Newark sees increase in taxis with cold weather
Published: Monday, March 4, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 21:04
Colder weather caused an 80 percent increase in business for UD Student Taxi, but approaching warmer months and the university’s expanding bus service could quell the rise in business, according to owner Ahmed Chebli.
Chebli said he has seen a noticeable spike in business during the last few months. He attributes this to the weather because students are less likely to want to walk from one end of campus to the other during colder months, he said.
“My business among students is driving them from their dorms or apartments to Main Street, especially when it’s raining or snowing,” Chebli said. “These rides are maximum one to two miles.”
The rest of his business among students is divided between trips to the Newark train station and rides to the Philadelphia airport, Chebli said.
Graduate student Justin Lee said he uses UD Student Taxi to get around campus when the weather is bad. His friend lives on the opposite end of campus from him, so he has taken a cab to his house, he said.
Lee said he is more likely to take a cab than to ride the bus or walk if it is snowing.
“When the weather gets better, I’ll probably suck it up and walk even though it’s far,” Lee said. “If it’s nice out then the distance doesn’t seem as bad.”
UD Taxi Cab owner Mohamed Bourjal said he has seen the same boost in business during the winter. The taxi service has been so busy lately that he has to put customers on hold, something that rarely happens during the warmer months, he said.
“My phones have been ringing non-stop,” Bourjal said. “January and February have been the busiest.”
Chebli said his busiest nights are Friday and Saturday because a large number of students using his service to get to the bar. He does not think the bus service on campus hinders his ability to reach new customers because it is not as convenient as taking a taxi.
“The bus service is helpful but a taxi will get you exactly from point A to point B,” he said.
University officials announced last week the bus schedule will be expanded for the weekends, so taxi companies may find themselves relegated to farther, more specific destinations, students said.
Senior Billy Scumaci said he has no need for taxi services regardless of the weather.
“Since I live pretty close to everything and have a car, taxis don’t serve much of a purpose,” Scumaci said.
Senior Donny de Rojas said he prefers to ride the free university bus over taking a cab because cab rides can be costly. Taxis are used by a small segment of the student population at UD and the majority of students do not contemplate taking taxis around campus, he said.
“I’ve never taken one,” de Rojas said. “There are free buses that take you virtually anywhere here, not to mention the campus isn’t nearly big enough for taxis to be worthwhile.”