Open Letter, Mending the fences

After the chaos that has reined since WATO (Wisconsin Association of Taxi Owners) and the state’s largest taxi provider TaxiMKE decided to ignore the majority of taxi providers in Wisconsin to side with legislation specifically designed to destroy the Taxi industry and endanger the public, I have been trying very hard to put some kind of relationship back together with WATO and their primary PR and legislative representative Gary Goyke.

To that end progress was made during a phone cal between myself and Gary today covering the possibilities, countermeasures and common ground that may still exist if the proposed deregulation is to pass, possibly as soon as next Thursday.

Gary Goyke is a well spoken person and a person to be trusted.  While it is unfortunate that he has been forced to take the side of WATO and TaxiMKE as it is his job, there can at least be some measure of coopertation preserved to protect the public.



  • Ride Safe WILL NOT be finishing the website project or hosting the website project for WATO any longer as a direct result of WATO’s decision.
  • Both WATO and TaxiMKE are currently in support of legislation that will undermine entirely, the basis of safety and accountability in the Taxi industry through out the state of Wisconsin.  This is a direct threat to the safety of customers and the general public as well as a threat to the fair wages and labor ethics for drivers through out the state.
  • The support of this legislation only makes real, the morbid and baseless propaganda that companies like Uber and Lyft have tried to broadcast about the Taxi industry for years while also selling out that same taxi industry TO Uber and Lyft.
  • This legisaltion not only devalues the Taxi industry but it open the door to Rideshare/TNC companies promoting their fraudulent and deadly brand of business into the Taxi market as an incentive to profit from the suffering of customers, drivers and the general public.
  • TaxiMKE is acting in an infantile and uneducated manner.  Much the same as the legislators who concocted these bills.
  • WATO, in it’s role to represent taxi companies and their interests has had their hand forced through a limited and paid member voting structure as apposed to an actual representation of the MAJORITY of taxi operators in Wisconsin or any sort of ethical standard in the transportation industry.

These are facts that no party will be contesting now or in the future.  It would be comical to see any try.


Gary Goyke, being WATO’s representative has had to carry out his duty and carries on in the hope that the parties he represents will utilize logic and reason, instead of greed and desperation if this legislation actually passes.


Ride Safe issues this basic four point mandate to all taxi companies if legislation AB918 and SB759 are to become law:


1- A fingerprint background check on ALL drivers.
2- Maintain insurance that specifically covers customers in case of an accident.  Not the surplus line or customer contracting scam that uber and lyft use.
3- Maintain vehicle marking that specifies vehicles and what company they drive for.
4- Maintain customer complaint, emergency response and law enforcement compliance with LIVE human beings who can answer a phone 24/7
If the proposed legislation passes, Taxi companies would no longer be required to comply with ANY of these kinds of safety and insurance policies.
They will become a choice that they can either comply with or ignore entirely just to save more money at the cost of Customers, Drivers and the general public.
There are so many more items that Ride Safe would prefer taxi companies to honor if this law passes but we are simply asking for the essential items that will PROTECT LIVES and SAFE transportation.
It would be far better that companies also respect regular service and inspections on their vehicles and supplies a standard training to all drivers.
Unfortunately the proposed legislation eliminates ANY sort of requirement to do so for any Taxi company in the state.
It would be better if taxi companies could agree to respect equal and fair transportation for ALL in the community reguardless of race, income, location OR DISABILITY.
Unfortunately the proposed legislation also eliminates ANY sort of requirement to do so for any Taxi company in the state and replaces it with an honor system that the taxi companies may or may not follow and will NEVER be enforced even if the law mandated it.
But Ride Safe is willing to lower the bar to compromise on PROTECTING LIVES and making sure the transportation that is available is SAFE.
Honestly, it makes my skin crawl compromising to this level.
There are poor, rural communities and disabled customers that will suffer severely restricted or entirely absent transportation options if these bills pass because taxi companies will opt to save money instead of providing routes where it would cost them more.
It is my hope that Taxi companies with coordinate together to fill these gaps and not flood out each other’s markets on busy days.
Trusting businesses, whether they are big or small, to honor a system of ethics in order to preserve the public good and prosperity has NEVER worked  in many cases through out our history.
This is not an industry that has EVER been known to do so in it’s history either.
Rideshare/TNC (Uber & Lyft) companies certainly do not honor them in the least.  Rideshare/TNCs are the most deregulated form of transportation in the world today.
There is no honor in that kind of honor system.  There is no economic future.  Only chaos, death, more sexual assaults and more cost to the tax paying public.
If this legislation passes, it will be a chance for the few taxi companies that support this kind of legislation, like TaxiMKE,  to prove me and the other taxi companies wrong and to prove Rideshare/TNCs wrong to the public.
Though it will seem easier and more profitable NOT to prove me wrong and end up selling out the entire industry to Uber and Lyft, I sincerely hope that most in the taxi industry (as most have indicated to me thus far) will follow logic and reason over greed and desperation.
-Justin La Plante
Ride Safe international