WARRENSBURG — The Lotus Group, parent company of several businesses in the Warrensburg area, has purchased Anytime Taxi.
Former owner Rich Pennock will remain a partner in the business and will oversee the cab service, which will launch next week with new cars – a total of four initially – and two dispatch stations. The Anytime Taxi station on Sweet Road in Queensbury will remain in operation and will be joined by a new Warrensburg station at the Lotus office on River Street, according to Lotus Group owner Ash Anand.
“Our goal is to have close to 10 cars as summer approaches,” Anand said.
The new service will also be year-round; Anytime Taxi previously operated only during the tourism season, he said.
A survey conducted by Lotus last year of more than 200 area residents showed a demand for taxi service in communities north of Lake George, Anand said. But because most of the region’s cab companies are based farther south, in the Glens Falls area, the cost of getting a cab north of Lake George Village was prohibitively expensive for many, Anand said.
The revitalized cab business will also launch an app in coming weeks that will allow customers to request a ride, schedule weekly or bi-weekly appointments or track their cabs for arrival times.
Lotus will also conduct background checks on all drivers.
“Background checks will make sure there are no hiccups on a driver’s license, in their criminal history, and will verify employment experience in the field,” Anand said.
Anand has significantly grown the number of companies under the Lotus umbrella over the past three years. The business now comprises Lotus Analytics, a business solutions consultancy; Lotus Auto Xperts, a full-service automotive garage; Small Tales, an early learning and day care center; Lotus Construction; and Lotus Nutraceuticals, which sells dietary supplements aimed at improving health.
Lotus also purchased and expanded the inventory of the NAPA auto parts store on Main Street last year, a few months after it acquired the Grist Mill restaurant and Bark Avenue, a pet grooming business, both on River Street.
Anand said the taxi service will employ upwards of 10 people, once all ten vehicles are on the road. Drivers may also be called upon to provide valet parking service at the Grist Mill Restaurant, as needed, Anand said.
Lotus last year moved its main office from Mountain Avenue to new offices on River Street, and Anand said plans are in the works to turn the former office space into a café. He said he’s planning to expand the staff at the Grist Mill to facilitate the new restaurant’s operation.
This summer will also see the launch of Lotus Link, a private transit service for senior citizens in need of rides to and from medical appointments and other services throughout the region, Anand said.
That plan was altered last year, after an initial concept for a public bus route was opposed by Greater Glens Falls Transit, which filed a protest against Lotus Link’s petition to the state Department of Transportation for a “certificate of public convenience and necessity.”
Anand said Lotus Link will launch with handicap accessible vans, complete with wheelchair lit equipment. The fleet will grow, as the need for transit services dictates, he said.
“We’ll sort of grow into it,” he said.
Plans to convert a three-story barn-like structure next to the Grist Mill Restaurant into a brewery have been put on the back burner for now. Anand said the decision was made to concentrate the company’s energy on getting other facets of the business running smoothly.
“We want to take our time and do it right,” he said.
Warrensburg Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty welcomed news of the new taxi service on Wednesday.
“There was always a taxi service in Warrensburg until the late 80s, I think,” Geraghty said. “I certainly feel there’s a need.”
Geraghty said he’s also glad Lotus Link will begin service this summer, as the need for services aimed at senior citizens is growing in the region.