Inside Business: Taxi 9000 | VideoJim Christianson | 1/22/2013
This taxi cab has as much technology in it as Gary Schumacher can imagine. "We`ve moved to Drive Cam. We`ve moved to GPS in the vehicle, so that the dispatchers can look on the screen and on the blink of an eye see where all the cabs are."
The business model of Bismarck`s Taxi 9000 has changed considerably since it started in 1960. These are just a few changes Schumacher made after purchasing Taxi 9000 for the second time in 2012.
"We want to get the best drivers, the best dispatch, and better equipment. I think if we can do that the rest will drive itself," he said.
Schumacher bought the business back from Coach America after the Houston-based company went bankrupt. But it wasn`t his first experience with Taxi 9000. Schumacher`s father bought it in 1976, and Gary took over in 1984. Then he sold it to Coach America in 2001 and stayed on as an employee manager. But he soon realized that he preferred being a small business owner rather than a big corporate employee. When the opportunity arose to buy back the business, he jumped on it. "I realized I wanted to do it. That was even surprising to me."
After buying the company back, Schumacher invested in upgrading the technology in the fleet, including the installation of GPS systems and in car drive cams. Schumacher has also upgraded the quality of the service. His drivers must meet strict qualifications, attend training and pass an annual physical. Schumacher also provides health care coverage to his employees, something Coach America didn`t do.
And it looks like his hands-on approach will help ensure that Taxi 9000 will be catching fares and transporting riders for another 50 years.
Taxi 9000 is Bismarck`s oldest cab company.