Taxi Service Resumes for Late Night Jail Releases
Source: Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office
Indigent inmates being released late at night from the Santa Barbara County Main Jail will once again be afforded taxi rides thanks to an agreement with United Taxi. A formal agreement was signed last week and taxi service will resume starting tonight, October 23, 2017. The agreement comes after several months of trying to find a replacement for Rock Star Taxi who notified the Sheriff’s Office in February that they were backing out of their contract and no longer able to provide this service.
Following the announcement, the Sheriff’s Office began the search to find a replacement taxi service. We were assisted in this effort by numerous groups and agencies including Good Samaritan, The Rescue Mission of Santa Barbara, Lights On, Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness, Mr. Peter Marin and Supervisor Das Williams’ Office. The search ended last week when United Taxi, a locally owned and operated business based in Santa Barbara, signed a formal agreement to take over providing late night transportation service from the Main Jail.
The agreement calls for United Taxi to provide inmates who have no means of transportation with a ride from the Main Jail to the Rescue Mission, located at 535 E. Yanonali Street in Downtown Santa Barbara during late night hours. They have also agreed to provide service to inmates with disabilities requiring specialized transportation vehicles whenever needed. Inmates who do not have means to pay and are released at other times of the day are given bus tokens and/or Clean Air Express passes to get them back to their communities. This program started several years ago primarily to ensure those who lacked the means of getting a ride were not forced to walk the seven miles from the Main Jail to downtown in the dark.
Sheriff Bill Brown thanked United Taxi for stepping up to take on this role. He said, “It is important that this service be available for destitute inmates. For them, getting transportation to a shelter or other appropriate location can be an almost insurmountable problem. As a community, we must look out for their welfare and not turn our backs simply because they are no longer committed to our custody. This program ensures that all discharged inmates, no matter what their financial means, have the opportunity to leave the jail in a safe and dignified manner.”
United Taxi has been in business for six years and has eight taxis. The owner of United Taxi, Graeme Langley, said he is glad to be able to fulfill this important need. He said, “We are very happy to be helping out the county. This is positive all the way around. We are able to do it and my drivers are excited to be involved.”