Helping Youngstown one ride at a time

Independent Radio Taxi van ready to pick up passengers.

By Austin Caroline

As ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft become more popular, it’s hard to imagine that a taxi service is able to stay in business and compete, but Independent Radio Taxi in Youngstown is doing just that.

Independent Radio Taxi has been located and operating out of an office building at 308 1/2 W. Federal Plaza ever since it first opened in 1942. Despite the competition in the area from other ride sharing services, the company has been able to stay in business and continue providing transportation for the greater Youngstown area.

Elizabeth Solch, head dispatcher for Independent Radio Taxi, said the company is able to compete with the other services because they offer better fare rates.

“The first mile and a half is $5, and $2.50 every mile after that. Once you go so far out, it starts to become a flat rate,” she said. “We also run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and our rates do not increase based on the time of day or if it’s a holiday.”

Solch also said that the company is able to compete with the other services because it offers more than a normal taxi service.

“We do a lot more than just cash trips. We drive to all of the hospitals, we drive for welfare, we drive for a lot of the big name factories like Astroshave and Mancan,” Solch said. “We have a lot of different companies that we drive for, more so than just people going where they need to go.”

The ability to run all day gives the service an advantage over the competition, as Uber and Lyft tend not to run downtown at night.

Solch also said the company never has to worry about somebody impersonating one of its drivers. The company consistently uses the same drivers, and all of the cars are marked with the company logo.

Despite being such a prominent business in the city, some Youngstown State University students aren’t aware of Independent Radio Taxi and use other services when necessary.

Misty King, a sophomore biochemistry student at YSU, said whenever she needed a ride in the past, her go-to was to order an Uber.

“I used Uber twice a week for nine months,” King said. “Whenever I used it on the weekends, it was about $8 a trip. Whenever I used it on the weekdays, it went up to $12 to $14 a trip.”

She also said she usually felt safe using Uber, but she did say that she would carry pepper spray with her.

Richard Bonnette, a senior business administration student at YSU, also said he would use Uber if he was in need of a ride anywhere.

“My average trip was between Brookfield and Youngstown, and was around 10 miles and averaged 20 minutes drive time,” he said. “In the morning, it was rare to find a driver, same for around lunch time.”

Bonnette also said his trips would usually cost between $20-24, not including a tip, and that the price was always subject to change based on the season or how close it was to a holiday.

To set up transportation with Independent Radio Taxi, visit the downtown office or call 330-746-8844.