Trinity Bellatrix and Darrin Thomas debuted their new business, Longmont Bike Taxi, with a soft opening at the Longmont Winter Walkabout on Feb 2, stationing their bright yellow bike cab at Fifth and Main Streets and offering rides.
“We’ve been waiting for this forever,” said Bellatrix, 25, about the company she owns with her uncle who’s in his 50’s. “The bike is really quiet and magical,” she said. “You can’t get that feeling in a regular car.”
For now, the business sports one bicycle taxi but is expecting a second one within the month, and has plans for a third.
The taxi, or pedicab, is a top-of-the-line, electric-assist bicycle manufactured by Main Street Pedicabs in Broomfield. It can hold up to three passengers and tops out at 34 miles per hour, although the average speed so far, Bellatrix says, has been closer to 24 miles per hour. The bikes are custom made, cost around $7,000 each and weigh about a hundred pounds.
The partners are still working out the operating details and pricing of the taxis. Bellatrix would like to see a system similar to that of Uber and Lyft, where riders use an app to reserve a ride. Thomas leans toward a more traditional model of being flagged down by passersby. “We both have visions for how we see the company working,” said Bellatrix. “We’re mixing it together and making it the perfect puzzle piece.”
Bellatrix said the biggest challenge so far has been how to be available when someone needs a ride, as well as attempting to “capture all the ideas we have and make them into reality.” She foresees getting hired for special events, working with downtown bars to get patrons home safely, and maybe using the pedicabs to make deliveries.
Once they are up and running, Bellatrix expects the taxi boundaries to stretch to the city limits. They use bike lanes when necessary, she said, pointing out that the pedicab is “exactly the width of the bike lane.” Bellatrix said the pedicabs are not allowed in the street on Main, and will make use of the surrounding alleys to transport passengers.
Longmont was “really ready” for this type of business, Bellatrix said, adding that Denver already hosts several bike taxi companies.
Part of the reason the two chose Longmont was the “warm welcome of the idea” from the city. The Longmont Downtown Development Authority has been “really helpful,” says Bellatrix, “hooking us up with events. They want to use us to help alleviate traffic problems and maybe shuttle people back and forth to events from an unused parking lot.”
“Our goal,” says Bellatrix, is to be “fun and sustainable.”
Bike Taxi plans to launch their website LongmontBikeTaxi.com soon, however, it is still under construction.