Rye’s Taxi owner Israel Salas and cabbies German Latorre, Carlos Montoya, Juan Saez, and Medardo Ruiz
Hail Rye’s Taxi
By Janice Llanes Fabry
Commuters and visitors don’t exactly hail a cab in downtown Rye, but get off the train and rest assured that a row of taxis is waiting to take you to your destination. Rye’s Taxi has been transporting our community for almost 20 years. Owner Israel Salas set up shop on the third floor of 68 Purchase Street in 2001and has been providing customers with safe, reliable, and professional service ever since.
Although he still conducts business from his office, it’s no longer the dispatching center it once was. “At one time, business was beautiful with countless airport runs. But since the dawn of Uber, there’s no use for a dispatching service. It affected about 70 percent of our business,” said Salas, who hopes the community continues supporting their traditional hometown fleet.
The six taxi companies that lined the Rye station in the heyday are down to two, with Westchester Taxi being the other. As Salas explained, one of the requirements for annually renewing licenses and permits is having a central base station from which to operate. Today, most proprietors are resigned to the fact that paying commercial rent for a central facility is no longer economically viable.
With a fleet of eight cars, all owned by the individual drivers themselves, Salas perseveres, much as he did as a Mexican immigrant 48 years ago when he assimilated into New York City. He made a living as a cook at various establishments in Manhattan until he relocated to Westchester in 1995. To salvage his weekends and holidays, he decided to drive a cab instead. Serendipitously, a coveted spot opened up at the Rye train station. Before long, the cabbie launched his own service on Purchase Street.
“People in Rye are very special. There are nice families, who have been very generous,” said Salas. “The kids are all educated and polite, too.”
Generally, the cabs line up at the station during rush hours. In the mornings from six to ten o’clock, most passengers are going to work. In the evenings, they are heading home between four and ten o’clock (midnight on weekends). The minimum fare is $6, $7.50 to Greenhaven. Drivers can carry up to four passengers and will stop at three different addresses, as long as they’re in the same direction.
Because Rye’s Taxi is not affiliated with Westchester County’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, Salas’ drivers are restricted to picking up passengers in Rye only. From there, however, they can go anywhere.
Salas, himself, is the driver in the Chrysler 300, parked in the spot he claimed all those years ago. Need a ride? He and his crew can always be reached at 967-0150.
<This article is part of a continuing series focusing on Rye’s upstairs businesses. Their storefronts may not be on the ground floor, but they are second to none. In this case, business is conducted on both sides of the tracks in four-door sedans.>