Taxi drivers plan for a busy Monday as visitors swarm the cityAug 17, 2017 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer
Pedestrian and vehicle traffic is expected to increase substantially through Monday as visitors swarm to the Rendezvous city for the upcoming total solar eclipse.
In Riverton there aren't any large transit services, but local residents are stepping in to fill the expected need for transportation throughout the city and in Fremont County.
The Wind River Transportation Authority will be running two buses in Riverton, with stops along Main Street, at Riverton Regional Airport, Walmart and the Wind River Hotel and Casino.
Other stops include Central Wyoming College, some hotels and parks, City Hall, and the 1838 Rendezvous site.
Marlene Williams will operate Gator Creek Taxi during the busy weekend and eclipse day.
"I'm going to make sure we can cover everybody as best as we can," she said.
Her fleet of three taxis already serves the community 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with rides available locally and throughout the county.
"I'm sure we'll be shuffling around as usual," Williams said. "My rates are going to stay the same."
For a one-way trip in Riverton, Williams is charging $10, while a trip to Lander is usually $35. One-way trips to the Wind River Hotel and Casino or Riverton Regional Airport are $15.
Gator Creek Taxi can only be reached by phone, and Williams anticipates cell phones might not work Monday due to the high demand for cellular signals from local towers. Regardless, she says she will be available if mobile calls do go through.
"If the phones are going to ring, I promise you we'll be answering them," Williams said.
She would like customers to contact her main number, 851-3619, for help.
After the eclipse, she said she plans to move one of her vehicles to Lander - a popular destination that that needs more taxi services.
Eric Reid is using his minivan to provide rides locally through the Uber phone application this coming weekend and on Monday.
"I'm expecting a little more clientele," he said. "I'm hoping I stay busy."
Uber is fairly new to Wyoming: It was just this March that Gov. Matt Mead signed a new law allowing and regulating transportation network companies in the state.
"It's a learning curve for Wyoming," Reid said.
Now, visitors and residents alike can download the Uber app and enter credit card information for payment. Then, they type in their location and desired destination and are given options for Uber drivers in the area.
Drivers can either accept or reject the request.
Uber drivers have to give a portion of their fare to the company and are under a contract. They're able to set their own hours of operation, though.
Reid will be available all evenings, nights and weekends.
"I'll try to be on as much as I can," he said.
Uber is more popular in urban areas, Reid suggested, so out-of-state eclipse visitors may be more familiar with the service.
"There's in-state customers who have never used Uber, but there's out of state customers who have used it, and foreigners who have used it too," he said.
If there's a higher demand for Uber services, the company will send drivers from other Wyoming communities, Reid said.
Once he accepts a request for a ride, customers can track his location and get notifications about his anticipated arrival time.
Most rides in town usually cost less than $10, but that amount could change over the weekend due to increased demand, Reid said, noting that Uber sets the prices.
The Uber website also allows people to get an estimate of how much their trip will cost.