TRAVERSE CITY — Cherry Capital Cab owner Doug Dornbos closed the business at midnight Sunday. He blames rapidly rising fleet insurance costs.
“My premiums were going to double. They went up 113 percent, actually. In rough numbers, from about $7,500 to just over $15,000 a year per cab. And I got three days notice on that. It’s nothing I could have prepared for, really. I was blown away.”
“(Of) everybody that’s been licensed since March of 2017, 42 percent of the cab companies are out of business, and 28 percent of the limousine companies are out of business,” Dornbos said. “Everybody I’m aware of that’s closed, closed because of insurance.”
“The last couple of years we had increases as well. Last year I had a 40 percent increase (in insurance premium cost). But we just swallowed hard and did not raise our prices, because of the downward price pressure.”
Some of that fare pressure is being driven by competition from ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber.
Cherry Capital Cab employed four full-time dispatchers, two part-time dispatchers and a general manager. It worked with 26 drivers who were independent contractors, some full time, some part time. The company owned four taxis. Nine drivers owned their own vehicles, said Dornbos, who launched Cherry Capital Cab in 2007.
Dornbos will continue to operate his Grand Traverse Limousine company, which uses a stretch limousine, two 15-passenger vans, an SUV, a sedan and a crossover. More information is available at www.gtlimo.com.