Local woman taxis people around

“I thought why not offer something that isn’t here – especially since I have learned in the short time I’ve been open for business that there are quite a number of folks who are very grateful I offer this service,” said Chaffman.  With some reluctance, Chaffman had told some local townspeople that she was considering taking another job and wasn’t sure yet what she would do about the taxi. “They were quick to reassure me that they really hoped I didn’t give it up because they know so many people who are excited about it and will use me at some point.” A couple at the Lake have already used her services and shower praise on Chaffman’s business called Shooting Stars Taxi.

Chaffman is not giving anything up and already has a dedicated base of regulars who call her every month for different things.

“I don’t want to disappoint them. If I were to give this up, people that I am able to set up trips for would have to pay a Charlottesville taxi a lot more to come out and get them,” she said.   She admits that while she may have to raise her prices soon if gas prices don’t stop climbing, but for now she charges  $2.25 a mile compared with Charlottesville and other localities, which charge between $2.75 and $3.00. “I want to offer my community more affordable transportation.”

“I think when people compare what it has cost them to use other taxi services, they are very understanding and more than happy to support a small local business in their area,” she said.

Influenced by the entrepreneurial spirit, she said, “I guess a little part of it too aside from me being a people person and knowing I’m a responsible, safe driver for folks, is that while its hard work to try and start up a new business and be the one in charge of all the different aspects of that business it’s very rewarding to be your own boss and to build something that is totally yours.”

Her clients included a variety of people from a young couple from North Carolina who were staying in a B&B in Waynesboro, in which the girl surprised her boyfriend with a wine tour. Chaffman set up a picnic of little light snacks for them on a quilt at White Hall and took photos for them. Not too many taxi drivers would do that. She drives senior citizens, who aren’t comfortable with driving to doctor’s appointments or no longer drive. Other customers include couples who would like to go to dinner in Charlottesville and be able to have a few drinks and know they are getting back home safely. She has a gentleman who doesn’t have a car and needs to do a few errands and a lady who booked six trips to and from Dulles. She also handled a shuttle service for a wedding parties between from Buckingham and Scottsville, and a lady who needed a ride to her car  in Arvonia, a guest from the Fork Union motor lodge needing to get to train station in Charlottesville, and a Chinese couple  who needed a ride to the Richmond International Airport.

The list goes on.

Chaffman will drive within a distance of 150 – 200 miles and said she would consider trips that are a little further, depending on the specifics of each need.  She will go to the most popular airports in Virginia and D.C.

“What impressed me is that most people do call and schedule a trip with me ahead of time and its usually folks needing something other than a ride home from the bar late night, in fact I very rarely get those calls, which is ideal since I’m only one person and one car right now and can’t be on the clock all the time,” she said. Chaffman is not opposed to the idea of setting up some new shifts at night with another driver and maybe for weekends only where the driver  sits with the taxi in Scottsville somewhere so that folks needing a ride after a few drinks can utilize the service, getting home safely.

After starting the service in March of this year, Chaffman  felt extremely confident from day one about being a great taxi driver for a couple of reasons.

“I worked as an archaeologist for three years, driving all over Virginia, doing different projects in a variety of different traffic and weather conditions and was always responsible for carrying coworkers to and from jobs including those out of town.” Working in customer service for ten years since she was fifteen helped her to interact with a variety of people. “These are really the two important things you need as someone servicing folks for transportation, great driving and people skills.

Business has been what she expected for a new business, slow at first but more calls coming in as the months have progressed.  She attributes her growing success with advertising in local papers, handing out business cards, posting flyers  but mostly by word of mouth.

“While I’m still working on getting more business, I am confident that I’ve got a great service for my community that is needed.”

Chaffman stresses that while she is open to taking calls anytime, there’s a greater chance that she would be available if a potential client tries to plan ahead.

To learn more about Summer Chaffman and the service she provides, go to www.shootingstarstaxi.com for more information. Information about her wine tours are also on the website as wells as  a couple of reviews about the service. For more information or questions, contact Summer Chaffman at 434-660- 6606.

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