Joe "Doc" Clark spent his Friday night unwinding from a long week of work by enjoying some beers with friends.
When it was time to go home, he wasn’t worried about making the trip.
The Boardman resident used his cellphone, not his car keys, and made a call to an Austintown-based taxi company.
“A”-Cab began operating in March – on St. Patrick’s Day – and offers fares for $2 a pickup plus $2-a-mile fee.
Minimum fares in Austintown are $10 and $15 in neighboring towns. Special rates are available for transportation to work or school.
Owner Brian Bleggi said he started the company because he wanted to offer transportation at a reasonable price.
“Austintown is where everything is at,” Bleggi said. “And a lot of older people need a ride and can’t afford it.”
“It’s not only a cheap way to travel, it’s the responsible way,” Clark said.
Clark has four daughters, and said he believes that the only way you can teach them to be responsible is to act responsibly.
“I tell everyone, ‘Don’t drink and drive,’” said Clark, as he pulled more than 10 “A”-Cab business cards from his pocket and waved them in the air.
Gary Faber, the owner of Styx on Meridian Road, said he posts the cab company’s signs in his bar because he cares about his customers.
“My customers are my friends. I don’t want to see them get hurt or a DUI,” Faber added.
As of mid-July, Austintown Township police issued 37 citations for operating a vehicle under the influence. The Ohio State Patrol issued 276 in Mahoning County.
Clark said he received a OVI charge 10 years ago.
“I could take a cab every time I go out and never spend as much as I spent on that DUI,” he said.
Going out for a night on the town isn’t the only reason people are using the taxi company.
Faris Aljohani, 19, has been in Youngstown for six weeks and uses the company’s service seven days a week to travel to Youngstown State University, the movies and McDonald’s.
“He’s never failed us,” Aljohani said of Bleggi and his company. “When I call him, he is there.”
“A”-Cab operates at least two cars 24 hours day. A minivan is being added to the fleet this week to accommodate parties up to seven, Bleggi said.
He also warned travelers to make sure whatever taxi service they choose is one that carries taxi insurance.
“If they don’t have a taxi sign on the top or don’t say taxi or cab anywhere on the car, be wary,” he said.