The Wayne Stater

Catch a ride with Wildcat Wheels

The small town taxi service provides free rides for all

Lisa Dohmen, Staff Writer

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Wildcat Wheels is a free taxi service available for Wayne State College students on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. during regularly scheduled class weeks.

Brie Gossman is the lead dispatcher at Wildcat Wheels and has been on the dispatch team since November 2016.

“I’m in charge of scheduling, advertising and promotion, and stats for funding,” Gossman said. “We partner with Checker Cab in Norfolk and utilize their available drivers. We suggest that you treat the dispatchers and drivers with respect because we have the right to refuse a ride.”

Gossman said there are some rules that most riders are unaware of like where taxis can’t go.

“We can send the cabs anywhere within Wayne’s city limits so we are unable to send our drivers out to the country,” Gossman said. “We also cut off calls to Prime Stop gas station at 1:30 a.m. because our priority calls are from the bars downtown when they close normally at 2 a.m.”

She also had some tips to make the call to the dispatch team go smoother and faster.

“Know the address you are currently at, where you are going, and how many people will be in the car with you” Gossman said. “We can get busy at times and because different calls take longer or shorter times we cannot give an estimate on what time your cab will arrive, so be on the lookout for your ride.”

In addition to these tips, Gossman also said that it’s highly appreciated by the drivers and the dispatch team if you cancel a ride that you no longer need. It’s important to let them know if you found another ride or decided to walk.

Another current cab driver, John Shetler, noted that another common issue is the realization that only so many people can fit into one cab.

“Legally, I’m only able to fit four people in my car, so everyone can be in their seat belt and no one is blocking my vision in the rear view mirror,” Shetler said. “It is possible to request more than one cab to your location if you have a bigger group.”

He also mentioned that the service’s dispatchers ask for names so that they can be sure that the cabs are given to the proper people, it’s pretty common for rides to get stolen, but if things are slow, walk-ups are welcomed.

Wildcat Wheels has been stigmatized into the idea that the service is only for drunk people needing a legal ride but the service is available to everyone, including those just wanting a safe ride to a friend’s house. This stigma has created some interesting stories for drivers.

“One time a guy called who was very intoxicated and said he was at a building where they take heavy balls and throw them at pins and I responded ‘The bowling alley?’ and he continued to repeat that I was ‘the real MVP’,” Gossman said.

Drunken students can create a fun environment for all those in the cab.

“My favorite thing about working for Wheels here in Wayne is overhearing the conversations people have with their friends,” Shetler said.

Whether you are drunk and need to get home or you are sober and just want some late night nachos, Wildcat Wheels is happy to offer a ride.

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