Look out on the internet for stories on Checker Cabs and you will find many fun stories about our favorite taxis. Each article typically promotes a consistent message of Checker greatness, but these same stories also promote the idea that Checker have been out of taxi service for many years. Often the evidence provided is that of the last several New York City Checker cabs taken out of service in 1999, a big stories at the time, the reports presents to view that it’s the end of the line for Checker. In reality Checker do still provide service today, typically for wedding or film support, however this blog will present Checker taxicabs still operating for fares.
In the Midwest based out of Appleton, Wisconsin we can find A-Town Taxi run by Facebook Internet Checker Taxicab Archive member Jeremy Swiertz. According to Jeremy, A-Town Taxi is committed to providing their customers with safe and reliable transportation in and around the Fox Valley area. Open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week
A-Town runs a fleet of cabs including one 1982 Checker A11. The body and frame has about 400,000 miles on it. Originally equipped with a GM diesel, the cab was converted to gasoline several years ago. A former Surge cab from the famous Coca-Cola promotion, its highly likely that the cab was originally a Fort Cab from Missouri.
Jeremy’s hard work and good service has yielded happy customers. According to customer Todd Harringinton of Appleton, A-Town provides “awesome service from awesome people. Being disabled not only is it hard to get around , I have very little funds. Other cab companies charge higher rates plus they charge each person going to the same location. A-Town cab allows me to go where the bus doesn’t run. They are a true Godsend”.
Harrington is not alone in loving A-Town, in a recent review Locks, Wisconsin resident Amber Behling-O-Connor says “We have always received great service, riding in Jeremys sweet car always makes for a fun night”. Here’s Jeremy’s Taxi facebook page.
In the Southwest we can find Classic Taxi in Prescott, Arizona. Operated by Internet Checker Taxicab Archive member Walt Lynn, Classic Checker taxis are available twenty-four hours, seven days a week for all customer transportation needs. Walt runs one 1972 Checker Model A11 taxicab. Painted Green, Ivory and white, the cab paint scheme is comparable to New York City National cabs that operated in the early 1960’s.
According to Walt he operates only lovingly restored classic taxi cabs. His uniformed drivers are handpicked for their professionalism and they all take pride in their work. Walt services allow customers to step back in time to when customer service was a daily commitment instead of a place to stand in line. Here’s Walt’s Facebook link.
Probably one of the most famous working Checker cabs operates out of Aspen Colorado, The Ultimate Taxi. Since 1984, Jon Barnes has been carrying tourists through Aspen in the back of his 1978 yellow Checker cab.
According to Barnes, “the vintage taxi is enough to stop traffic, but over the years, he has been accumulating more and more cool stuff — electronic keyboards, drums, lasers, lights — until by the early ’90s, it became more a vehicle for entertainment than transportation. Now, the Ultimate Taxi is on the Internet, broadcasting images of passengers and Aspen scenery through a cutting-edge wireless network, designed by Harvie Branscomb with Sun Microsystems Aspen research lab funding the wireless broadband project.”
The granddaddy of active Checker taxicab companies can be found in Florida. Facebook Internet Checker Taxicab Archive member John Didomizio started his business in 2009. John began offering service on Clearwater Beach with two vintage Checker Cabs. John felt the cars were icons of New York City, and hence the named his service N.Y. Cab.
John ran Didomizio Investments and he was tired of hearing from his customers, friends and staff about how cab companies were “ripping off the tourists” by hitting the $1.00 fuel surcharge button repeatedly, jacking up fares, showing up in old former cop cars that were filthy and often had drivers that smelled badly, spoke little English, or simply taking people the “long way” to their destination. Entrepreneur John decided to do something about it.
The “Fix” was to start a real competing cab company and simply drive the shady operators off the beach. Putting his money where his mouth is, and being a collectable car enthusiast. John had two vintage Checker Cabs shipped down from Canada and “opened the doors” with a policy of first class service. To this day, most often drivers will open and close the car door for you. The first reason is service – the second reason is to make sure passengers in the old Checker Cabs are secure and the heavy steel doors are in fact closed properly.
Today John operates the largest fleet of operational Checkers, both A11 taxicabs and Aerobuses.
John’s service can be found on his website http://nycabco.com/aboutus.html
Thanks to all the folks still providing taxicab service utilizing real Checkers and be sure to support them if you ever are traveling in their respective areas.