ASTORIA — When a traffic accident laid up and partially disabled Joseph Maki, previously a manager at Classic Towing, he had to find a less strenuous line of work. Then word came to him that Mom’s Cab in Astoria needed drivers.

“I saw an opportunity,” said Maki, who bought the company in March. “If we don’t take risks, how will we ever know if we will succeed?”

In another gamble, he bought Regal Coach Taxi in June, adding on another four minivans to his growing fleet, now seven, accompanied by 10 drivers.

“I’ve got over 28 years in the transportation business,” said Maki, who drove taxis in 1980s San Francisco, adding that gas ran 89 cents a gallon then. “Most of my experience is in emergency road service.

“I’ve turned Mom’s Cab around from nearly going out of business, vehicles that were dilapidated ... and turned it into a viable company. I did that in three months.”

There wasn’t anything wrong with Regal when he took it over, said Maki, so he operates it in a similar manner to and under the same name as, Micheal Davis, the former owner, did. Maki said that while the company could become an LLC in the future, similar to Mom’s, his main focus is on lowering response time and increasing professionalism.

The two companies still operate under different dispatches — 503-325-8210 for Mom’s and 503-325-8715 for Regal — but as of July 1 they are centrally routed.

He readily admits that his rates – $2.50 for a drop, $2.75 per mile and 75 cents per minute of wait time – are higher than his main competition’s. Royal, the other major taxi company in Astoria, charges $2.20 for a drop, $2.60 for a first mile, $2.70 thereafter and 50 cents per minute for wait time.

“I’m aware that my rates are slightly higher, but my service is better,” he said, adding that fuel and maintenance costs have also driven up prices.

His service area runs throughout Clatsop County, and his and other taxis can commonly be found at four designated taxi stands throughout Astoria. “I’ll drive to New York City if you want, as long as you’re paying.”

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