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New taxi service focuses on decreasing DWIs

Hannah Grover
hgrover@daily-times.com
Kim Jones, transportation manager for Lou Go's, poses with two of the taxi service's vehicles, including a stretch limousine, on Sept. 21 at the business' office on 418 West Broadway Ave.


FARMINGTON — A new taxi service aims to decrease drunken driving in the community.

Lou Gos Taxi became the second taxi service in the county when it got its license to operate on Sept. 1. It was started by Capacity Builders, a Farmington-based nonprofit that focuses on improving quality of life for area residents.

By providing taxis that are licensed to drive people anywhere within a 500-mile radius, Capacity Builders hopes to decrease the number of people driving while intoxicated.

Kim Jones, the transportation manager, said if someone gets dinner at a restaurant and has a few drinks, they may not safely be able to drive home. One way the new taxi service is hoping to cut down on drunken driving is through its booze cruise. Lou Gos will drive clients to Lady Falconburghs in Durango, Colo. and drop them off for a night of bar hopping. The driver will later pick the clients up after the bars close.

Jones said Durango offers more selection of bars than Farmington, which leads local residents to drive to Colorado.

Kim Jones, transportation manager for Lou Go's, hops in one of the taxi service's vehicles on Sept. 21 outside the business' office at 418 West Broadway Ave.

"They either, one, have to get a room or they have to drive back," Jones said.

A 1980s-themed grand opening for the taxi service is scheduled for Oct. 21 at No Worries Sports Bar and Grill. While the taxis have only been running for a couple of weeks, the program started operating limo and party van services in the spring.

The taxi service is designed to tackle a real problem in San Juan County.

In 2015, 17 people were killed in alcohol-related car crashes, according to the 2016 San Juan County Needs Assessment, which was presented to Farmington City Council during a Tuesday meeting. The San Juan County alcohol-related car crash death rate is twice New Mexico's rate and more than four times higher than the national rate, according to the needs assessment.

The needs assessment is created by the San Juan County Partnership by evaluating statistics and surveying local residents. Pamela Drake, the executive director of San Juan County Partnership, told councilors drunken driving has consistently been one of the top concerns for residents. Residents ranked it as the second worst problem facing the county. The residents who responded to the survey ranked alcoholism and excessive drinking as the worst problem.

Despite the higher calling, the service isn't forgetting about good business practices.

Jones said Lou Gos focuses on a customer service philosophy. One way they focus on serving the customer is by minimizing the time a client has to wait for the cab. Jones said the average wait time is between eight and 13 minutes.

The TaxiCaller app allows customers to use their phones to see what taxis are available and how close the taxi is to the customer's location.

"You can order your taxi from there," Jones said. "You don't even have to call."

Jones is optimistic that the taxi service will help the local community.

"I see a lot of growth and I see a lot of benefits ... we can bring," she said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

Kim Jones, transportation manager for Lou Go's, sits in the taxi service's limousine on Sept. 21 outside the business' office at 418 West Broadway Ave. Although the limousine has a full bar, Lou Go's doesn't have a license to serve alcohol inside the vehicle.

If you go

What: Grand opening for Lou Gos

When: 8 p.m. Oct. 21

Where: No Worries Bar and Grill, 1298 W. Navajo St.

More info: 505-324-6568 or lou-gos.taxi