Yellow Cab Closing Leaves 120 Without A Job - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

10/27/03

Yellow Cab Closing Leaves 120 Without A Job

Yellow Cab in Biloxi abruptly closed its doors Monday, leaving 120 people without a job.

Cab drivers and other employees say they had no warning about the shutdown.

Company officials blame high liability insurance and increasing competition as the main reasons for closing the company.

Yellow Cab is one of eight cab companies licensed in the City of Biloxi. It's by far the largest, operating 87 of the 102 taxi cabs running in the city.

Workers got called in Monday morning, only to find out they'd just lost their jobs.

Cab drivers were stunned and told WLOX News they never saw it coming. General manager Earl Ross described the shutdown as a "corporate decision". The damp, chilly weather definitely matched the mood. It was a dismal Monday morning outside Yellow Cab.

The shocked faces told the story, as cab drivers carried their belongings, just moments after losing their jobs.

"Mandatory meeting at eight o'clock this morning. We show up. They pull everybody's keys and said we're closed. They're officially closed as of eight o'clock this morning," one driver explained.

The reason?

"Insurance. There was something about insurance being too high and stuff like that, on the cabs," the driver said.

Brandy Hover fought back tears as she thought about the approaching holidays.

"The whole family works here. Me and my husband have a job here. We've got Christmas. We've got three kids. We're going to make it. We're going to survive. But Christmas is coming. It's supposed to be a joyful time of the year," she said.

There was definitely no joy this Monday morning. Workers got on their cell phones to relay the bad news to family and friends. The high cost of liability insurance, up to five thousand dollars per car per year, is the main reason given for the shutdown.

Earl Ross is the general manager of Yellow Cab.

"Well, it was a corporate decision to shut it down, yes it was. I was given an opportunity to buy it. And it was not feasible for me as an individual," Ross explained.

Corporate reasons don't matter much to workers losing their jobs. A business decision leaves them without a paycheck.

Joe Moore drove a cab for ten years, and says he had no warning the company was about to shut down.

"Nothing. Been working every day, every day. Even the dispatchers. As of eight o'clock, they shut the system down. No calls. No nothing. Man from Houston said, it's over," he said.

General Manager Earl Ross has a longtime connection to the cab company. He's the former owner, having sold the majority interest in the company to Coach USA in 1999. The Ross family is synonymous with the taxi cab business in Biloxi. Earl Ross's grandfather started the company back in 1938.

By Steve Phillips

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