Our story begins with two entrepreneurial women in Williston, North Dakota, who noticed that there was a shortage of cabs in their town because of the recent oil boom in the area. They decided to start two small shuttle services, with some service for locals. As the Williston Herald reported on April 2nd:
“We initially intended to do the shuttle service, but until that really gets built up and people are aware, if people need rides home, we’re giving them rides home. We’re not charging anything, but we do accept gratuities. We tell everybody that gets in exactly that,” Malladi said.
They said there is a huge need for taxi services in the area.
It sounds like a story of two women who saw a need in their community and tried to fill it.
However, the two women hit a snag. They were ticketed for “operating an unlicensed taxi service.” This surprised them, since they weren’t yet charging fares, but they decided to get a taxi license anyways. They paid a fee, had their vehicle inspected, and were then denied a license by the city – and according to the women – without explanation. Considering there is only one taxi service in town, why would they not allow these women to operate their business? SayAnythingBlog, a blog in North Dakota, has speculated about their reasons:
Malladi said that other cab services aside from her and her friends’ companies have filed to operate in the city but that they, too, have been denied… Is there an effort here to protect a taxi monopoly in Williston? I would hope not, but there seems to be no good reason why Malladi can’t get a taxi license, and city officials don’t seem to be willing to explain themselves.
The city might be protecting the existing taxi service by not issuing new licenses. Since this is difficult to know for certain, I will give this case one baloney, and hope that these two women are able to operate their new businesses soon: