By Jennifer Stanko
The yellow light could soon turn green for a Buda taxi owner’s quest to set up a taxi franchise in the city of Kyle.
Buda Taxi Service owner Ivan Castellon, who has completed all of the required paperwork with Kyle, plans to have his taxi franchise within the city in full gear by December.
Kyle’s first taxi franchise, Kyle Taxi Service, is pending approval of one final document from the state.
The concept for the new taxi service will follow Castellon’s Buda Taxi Service model, which is known for being “veteran owned and operated.” Castellon created and founded the Buda Taxi Service in 2014.
His new company will be based out of Kyle, but trips outside the city will be made if requested.
In order to start a taxi franchise, Castellon submitted an application with the Department of Transportation. He said he is now awaiting approval, which could take “a few months.”
According to Castellon, 2.45 percent of every fare raised goes back to the city of Kyle, and he is proud that the “money earned in Kyle stays in Kyle.”
The current rate is $2.50 a mile, but the Taxi Service often tries to charge a “flat rate fee” for riders who are traveling long distances.
“I have a conscience and want to keep rides affordable,” Castellon said. “Those long distance fares can really add up.”
Castellon believes he has the market secured during the daytime hours. Castellon said he assumes most of the company’s clientele will be business locals and airport riders during the day, and younger party-goers at night.
While he anticipates some business during later hours, according to Castellon, it’s a market other competitors dominate. He said Uber, an app-based transportation company, is his primary competition.
To aid that process, Castellon said the company currently uses a free app, called Buda Taxi, LLC, where riders are able to schedule reservations.
An app will be made available for Kyle Taxi Service once the business is up and running.
Riders are currently unable to pay via the app, but this service is anticipated.
“A lot of people are apprehensive about paying for things over an app, but we want to build up confidence in our customers and eventually move to purchase 20 tablets for our drivers where riders will be able to pay via a tablet,” Castellon said.
Along with Kyle Taxi Service, Kyle Shuttle Service, a flat-rate group shuttle service, will also begin operation. Castellon will also operate the Kyle Shuttle Service, which he said would target airport travelers.
According to Kyle councilmember David Wilson, the city has determined that the service is necessary for Kyle.
Wilson said that he knows “of situations where Buda Taxi Service has delivered services above and beyond what is required of them.”
“It is my hope that the service they provide will fit all people’s needs,” Wilson said.