The local transit service plans to add several vans and buses to its fleet this year, and local taxi companies are not happy about it.
“At our next meeting, we’re going to be proposing two minivans and four buses,” Harbor Transit Director Tom Manderscheid said. “The four buses will replace three, so I have a net increase of one.”
Manderscheid said a federal grant will help pay for the new buses.
“I have a secret list of my own I call ‘Eight Ways for Harbor Transit to Kill the Taxis,’” said Bill Tombs, owner of Blue Dog Taxi in Grand Haven. “They have accidently stumbled onto one of them and that's the addition of taxi-like minivans to their fleet to accommodate the one- to three-passenger runs."
Tombs wouldn't name the other seven ways on his list.
Harbor Transit officials contend that the bus service isn't out to harm private transportation businesses. Manderscheid said the minivan runs will be a part of their regular service hours.
Manderscheid said adding the smaller vans is being done for the fuel efficiency in reaching the transit service's far-reaching areas.
“If I have to drive down to Fillmore Street, it makes sense to have a smaller vehicle,” he said.
Manderscheid also noted that the transit provider has different hours of operation than the local taxi companies.
“We have no expectation of expanding our hours at this time," he said.
Still, Tombs said his business is doing well — at least for now.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.