Like many services in Lawrence, a new taxi company is making the community’s large student population a key part of its business plan.
It’s an understandable choice, but especially a company, like a taxi service, that’s in the public transportation business shouldn’t ignore another group of potential customers: retirees.
A recent news story about a new taxi service forming in Lawrence reported that the service would use neon lights and stereo equipment to create a party atmosphere in their vehicles. That makes sense considering that a major target audience for the service is people who have already been partying either in connection with a Kansas University sports event or at bars in the early morning hours. Randall Barnes, owner of Redycab said he’s trying to cut down on the time passengers have to wait for a taxi and perhaps reduce the number of potential customers who get tired of waiting and make what might be a poor choice to drive themselves home.
Barnes isn’t unaware of local senior citizens who might also appreciate a taxi service that could provide rides in a timely fashion, and he said Redycab also has served seniors who need rides to a grocery store or doctor. It seems like a potentially lucrative market that might provide more business than Barnes expects.
Various forms of public transportation must be a key part of the city’s planning to make Lawrence a more attractive community for retirees. People who have chosen to quit driving but want to remain in their homes need a way to get to the grocery store, doctor or other services. Many seniors who drive but feel uncomfortable on the road after dark still want to attend evening lectures or performances. Being able to access transportation without depending on family members, friends or neighbors is a key part of preserving a senior’s sense of independence and quality of life.
Seniors may not be attracted to loud sound systems or neon lights on a taxi, but they want to be able to go where they want to go without always planning a day ahead or having to make sure they get home before public transportation services quit for the night. Whether it’s taxis, or some other transportation service, seniors are an important part of the market that shouldn’t be ignored.