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Dial-ride Project Threatened

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Opposition by Ann Arbor's taxicab companies has apparently - at least tempor arily - placed a large crimp in the city's plans to institute a "dial-a-ride" bus experiment. , Mayor Robert J. Harris last night called for an executive session of council to discuss the matter, the meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday. "My understanding from the chairman of the Transportation Authority (William Drake) is that the state is prepared to fund our dial-a-bus experiment with the single hang-up being possible objection by the local cab companies," Harris said. The "dial-a-ride" concept involves door-step service on demand. Harris told council that the Transportation Authority has designed the contract "so that cab companies could bid on the operating part of it and one or both of them could actually opérate it as subcontractors of AATA." The mayor added, "Every effort has been made to design the experiment in such a way that if it succeeds it would employ existing cab drivers and if it fails it will not significantly harm present cab operations." He said it is believed the cab companies are lobbying against the "dial-aride" concept, adding that there have been threats of a law suit against the city to prevent the operation. "I have spoken with the attorney retained by the cab companies and it may be the case that the depth of cab company opposition has been exaggerated and it may yet be possible to work out the original plan of cab company operation on a subcontract basis," Harris said. "In any event, the issue is extremely important for it would be most unfortunate to come to a state of affairs in which an existing, successful mode of public transportation - the taxicab - is blindly and deeply opposed to any experimentation with a new mode of public transport dial-a-bus- which may be the only means of preventing the city from choking in cars 10 years from now." ___. II III Uil M 111 1-