Cab driver Benjamin Franklin assists local resident Walter Zimmerman get his seatbelt in place in Brown Cab’s new 2012 Dodge Caravan mini-van.

Accessible taxi service will serve Whitewater residents

By Dave Fidlin

Correspondent

A local company that routinely transports Whitewater residents of all walks of life from point A to B has a new vehicle in its fleet – a move aimed at better serving customers, company officials say.

Earlier this month, Fort Atkinson-based Brown Cab Service Inc. added a wheelchair accessible minivan taxicab into its rotation. Brown Cab oversees Whitewater’s shared-ride transit service.

Brown Cab was able to purchase the new vehicles through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Company officials paid for the vehicles, but were subsequently reimbursed by the federal government for the maneuver.

General Manager Karl Schulte said he believes the 2012 Dodge Caravan minivan traversing the streets of Whitewater will be a benefit to all residents using the service – particularly those with disabilities.

“This is going to be a lot more efficient, and that’s our goal,” Schulte said. “This is something that might attract more customers who will be willing to give us a try – at least I hope so.”

The new minivan, which went into service July 11, will be especially beneficial to people who use walkers, wheelchairs and other similar devices to assist in mobility. But Schulte emphasizes all people will be able to use the vehicle.

While persons with disabilities were able to use the Whitewater shared-ride transit service in the past, Schulte said the process was inefficient and required placing special equipment into one of the existing vehicles and removing it once the person was transported.

“This will go so much quicker,” he said. “We think it will result in a more comfortable ride.”

In addition to enhancing customer response times, Schulte said the new minivan serves another benefit. The new Dodge Caravan is touted as fuel efficient – a contrast to the old Crown Vic minibus that offered about 10 miles per gallon.

Brown Cab has long served as Whitewater’s mass transit provider. On average, Schulte said the company provides 60 rides daily in the community, or 22,000 annually.

Because of the layout of Whitewater, the city’s shared-ride transit service has inevitably become an intergenerational opportunity that gives people from all backgrounds the opportunity to interact with one another.

“The neat thing about Whitewater is we serve a real cross-section of people,” Schulte said, pointing to the swath of college students and senior citizens who frequent the service. “We definitely serve multiple populations.”

Brown Cab operates the shared-ride transit service program during various timeframes throughout the week, based on users’ patterns and vehicle demand.

The service begins operations daily at 7 a.m. The service ends at 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 2:30 a.m. Thursday through Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday. The company stops taking orders 15 minutes before the end of service each day.

In addition to Whitewater, Brown Cab offers similar transit service programs in communities throughout the state. Among them: Edgerton, Fort Atkinson, Lake Mills, Jefferson, Medford, Monroe, Ripon, Sauk Prairie, Waupaca and Waupun.

Individual fares hover between $2 and $3 in Whitewater.

 

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