Auburn’s Ace Towing acquires City Cab, taxis back on road Wednesday

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LEWISTON — A week after announcing that their taxis would be parked permanently, City Cab will be back on the road Wednesday under new ownership.

The Auburn-based company Ace Towing acquired the taxi service Tuesday morning and was working to clean the vehicles and rehire staff that afternoon, Ace Towing spokesman Roger Needham said Tuesday evening.

“City Cab will continue its taxi service, commencing Wednesday, 12 p.m., in the same 80-year-old tradition of dependable transportation and superior service,” Needham said in a news release.

Daniel Leonas, City Cab’s previous owner, announced April 27 he was shutting down the company on April 30, citing competition from city-provided transportation services and the struggling economy.

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Despite those obstacles, the cab company’s new owners think they have a shot at maintaining profits, Needham said. “We see that there is room in the market. We’ll be far more aggressive in capturing the market share that’s out there,” he said.

“We know that we need to get the message across: it’s service, service, service,” Needham said of Ace Towing’s approach to attracting business. “It’s a cab company that tends to offer more than others,” especially to repeat clients, he said.

“It’s prompt, clean service. That’s what we intend to keep communicating to the public in a variety of ways,” Needham said.

The company will continue to accept vouchers from local medical facilities under Ace Towing’s ownership, Needham said. The vouchers allow patients to take taxis to doctors’ appointments. Many people in Lewiston-Auburn “rely on it heavily,” Needham said, adding that getting the cabs back on the road quickly was a “first priority” because of that need.

About half of the taxi service’s previous staff has been rehired, with more expected to sign back on in the next few days, Needham said. “We have put the communication out that we want all of them back.”

While City Cab will continue to use its old phone number, 784-0117, the company will move the dispatch center to a new location, Needham said. Ace Towing bought City Cab’s vehicles, name and communication equipment but not the building that housed the dispatch operation, he said.

Needham wouldn’t reveal the amount of money paid for the fleet of six cabs.

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