Albuquerque Cab Co., one of the Duke City’s oldest and largest taxi businesses, closed its doors on Monday, laying off about 70 people, including cab and airport shuttle drivers, mechanics, and administrative staff.
The company, which formed in 1974, has dominated the Albuquerque market for nearly four decades, alongside the city’s other long-standing service, Yellow Checker Cab. But those two firms now face a lot more competition following efforts by state officials in recent years to open the local market to more competition.
Today, five cab companies are operating in Albuquerque, plus three airport shuttle firms, said Albuquerque Cab’s director of administrative services, Jeree Tomasi. That’s in addition to ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft.
“The transport industry has gotten more and more challenging because state regulators and legislators decided to de-regulate the market,” Tomasi told the Journal. “The competition has taken a huge portion of our market share, and we just couldn’t survive. Uber and Lyft in particular put the final nails in the coffin.”
Albuquerque Cab has always operated as a family business. Shawkeet Hindi, who took over the business from his brothers in 1998, ran the company until his death in 2015. His wife, Lois Hindi, has run it since then, along with her daughter, Jeree Tomasi, and other relatives.
The company operated nearly 50 vehicles, including cabs and shuttle buses. As of Monday, a recording told callers that Albuquerque Cab is no longer in operation, referring customers to Yellow Checker.
“Our drivers were all very loyal and good workers, but they couldn’t make a living anymore,” Tomasi said. “We did the best we could and invested all we had. Seventy people have lost their jobs. It’s devastating.”