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Why a Vt. cab company is calling it quits - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Why a Vt. cab company is calling it quits

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Vermont's long been plagued with transportation problems and that could soon get worse.

Benways is closing and hundreds of daily runs are slated to go with it.

Bruce Larrow keeps his cool overseeing the Benways Taxi dispatch center.

"Your concentration has to be here and you just pay attention," said Larrow.

His calm comes from years on the job at the Burlington business where he started out as driver.

"I started off in one of the handicapped vans. I fell in love with it and have been here for 20 years," said Larrow.

But that run, scheduling nearly 500 trips a day, is coming to an end.

Monday the company which also operates Yellow Cab and Morf Transit announced it is shutting down.

"I am honored for all the years in the community that we have been able to facilitate this transport," said Wanda Robar, owner of Benways.

Robar took the reins from her husband when he died.

"I want to thank my staff for incredibly for staying, both staying with Paul and I for 30 years, but most especially for staying with me on my last three year run without Paul," said Robar.

Robar points to the rising cost of doing business for her decision and says the financial model no longer works.

The move will put about 65 people out of work, including driver Peter Reposa.

"I enjoy meeting people and you meet every walk of life there is in this business, so it has been very enjoyable for me," said Reposa.

Robar says she's tried to find a new buyer but hasn't had any luck.

"Running a cab company is a tough thing, we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, so whomever steps up to the helm has to be willing to roll it, day in and day out," said Robar.

Her team will officially stop running July 5.

"I hope everybody can make it all right and that no one has to lose everything they have worked for, but you just take one day at a time," said Reposa.

Larrow says he'll be sad to see his regulars go without their rides and that he'll miss his Benways family as well.

"This is like a family to me, we've been a family, if you had problems, they always helped you here and I am going to miss my family," said Larrow.

Some 120 taxis are licensed to do business with the Burlington airport; 34 of those belong to Benways.

The company has no major complaints filed with the Burlington Taxi Commission and there are no complaints against Benways filed with the state attorney general's office.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has directed a number of city employees to look at the impact Benways closing could have on the city and possible steps the city can take in response to the lost service. In a statement, Weinberger said, "It's a sad day when a longtime Burlington company decides to close its business. It's a loss to our community - to the Burlingtonians and visitors to our City who have relied on Benways to move around the community. And, of course, a great loss for the many Benways employees who will be losing their jobs."

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