Virden once again has a taxi service, a year after the last one shut down. Prairie Shuttle Service launched on Dec. 26, just in time for the busiest night of the year – New Year’s Eve.
“New Year’s Eve was good, very busy,” said owner Mohammad Tahir.
A businessman from Portage la Prairie, Tahir owned a shuttle service and convenience store there before coming to Virden.
Initially, he made arrangements to work as a driver for the previous taxi cab owner. “I came here to run with him, but he was gone so I decided to try my luck.”
He did his homework, visiting Virden several times over the last few years eventually contacting Virden’s Economic Development Manager (EDM) Liza Park. She played a significant role in making it happen.
“She told me we really need a taxi business and helped me a lot.”
Park gave Tahir a tour of the town, helped him find a place to live, and told him how to spread the word about his service.
“He came to town to meet with me in November,” she said. “We discussed the requirements to operate a taxi service in town. His experience in operating a taxi service helped expedite his business.”
Tahir is making himself available to customers seven days a week and stops taking calls for service at 2 a.m. He does short trips around town or longer jaunts to destinations like Brandon, Winnipeg and Regina.
Tahir charges flat rates so there’s no meter in his new Nissan sedan. For example, a round trip within Virden (to and from a destination) is $8. If the passenger needs him to wait, the charge is an extra $4 for up to 10 minutes, totalling $12 for a round trip with a short wait.
What does he think about Virden so far? “Virden is a nice booming town. People are very happy here. Nice people, good community, yes I will be happy.”
Many were happy about his business’s arrival. When it appeared on the Town of Virden’s Facebook page recently, the comments were glowing:
“Great business for the town and reasonable price.”
“Good luck to whoever is operating this service! I believe it is greatly needed in town.”
“The elderly people have mentioned that if they get sick the ambulance is expensive and they will feel less stress knowing there is a cab they can take. I think we should try and keep this cab busy so we don’t lose this one.”