For Zane Brown, owner of D Z Cabs, being a cab driver is like being underpaid psychologist.
“(We’re) kind of like a bartender. People tell us all their problems,” he said.
Formerly known as Lot’s Cab, D Z Cabs is the company through which Corky’s Cab, Emporia State’s free “safe ride” student riding service, is run.
The company has been in business for over 22 years. Corky’s Cab is only in its third and was used by more than 900 students in its first year. But in the 2011-2012 school year, the number of riders dwindled to scarcely 600, said Stuart Sneath, vice president of ASG and senior sociology major.
“Overall, I think that it’s a great service,” said Marcus Hix, junior political science major, Associated Student Government senator and former sports editor for The Bulletin. “More students need to know about it and take advantage. I think if more students took advantage, it would be more reliable.”
One of the biggest complaints the service receives is the amount of time it takes to transport students. But Brown said he had to cut down on drivers, leaving them with only one night driver to adhere to Corky’s Cab. The contract between ESU and D Z Cabs says that the cab must be there within 20 minutes of a student’s call, Sneath said.
“We try not to let people wait over a half hour,” Brown said. “(The driver) averages about a 15 to 30 minutes.”
One of the time issues, however, can be related to students not adhering to the arrival of cab, Brown said.
“Sometimes when we come to get (students), they’re not outside the bar,” Brown said. “They’re inside the bar still drinking with their buddies. We have caller IDs for their phone, so we call them back.”
Sneath said that ASG has been looking into other alternatives for a safe ride service, but there are currently no other options.
Hix said there aren’t many alternatives because Corky’s Cab accounts for only a small portion of student fees.
“It’s very convenient for me,” Hix said. “If we wanted to spend more money on it, I can see it being better.”
ASG allocated $5,500 for Corky’s Cab this year, and upgrading to another choice such as the L-Cat would cost the school $38,000 for a 10-month period, Sneath said. He also said the goal of Corky’s Cab is to offer a safe ride home for students, and that the program ESU already has will do the job.
“We are still looking at other options in case something happens, like if the company shuts down,” Sneath said. “The contract we have has a 30 day clause if university can find something that would work better.”
Brown said that although they only have one night driver, they have been an “honest cab company” since the beginning and that they do everything they can to make sure students get home safe.
“We have literally picked drunks up and carried them,” Brown said. “I’ve thrown a couple people over my shoulder and walked them into the house. We take care of everybody.”
Corky’s Cab is available nightly from 10 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Call (620) 343-8310 to use the service.