College Cabs founders say they are not traditional taxis

PULLMAN, WA - Two Washington State University Cougars have started a new business on the Palouse, and they're hoping that their services will help keep college kids safe.

"We've put together quite the fleet," said College Cabs CEO Robby Borden.

Pullman and Moscow residents have a new option for getting around the Palouse.

"College cabs is just kind of a new thing coming into town here, and it's basically taking over what had been neglected," said College Cab CEO Zane Larson.

Robby Borden and Zane Larsen went to school together at Washington State University.

"We know each other from the house, and we're Phi Gamma Delta," said Larsen.

"I actually have my masters in civil and environmental engineering from Washington State," said Borden. "And the whole time I was going through school, I knew that engineering wasn't what I wanted to do, but I didn't know where I wanted to go."

When Larsen got the idea of creating a service that he believed was much needed in the area, the two Cougs went from fraternity brothers to business partners.

"We wanted to bring in something that's reliable," said Larsen. "Right now, you wait a couple hours for a taxi, if you can get a hold of one, and so we saw that as a real problem."

Of course, starting up a new business created some problems of its own.

"One of the hardest things that I can definitely remember is flying back and forth to get every single one of these over here from Seattle, and getting them painted," said Larsen.

"Getting through the licensing, getting insurance, being younger drivers," said Borden. "Starting a new company, it was really challenging to find an insurance company that would actually cover a younger operation."

One of the unique things about College Cabs is that you know how much you're going to pay before you get into the vehicle.

"We wanted to do flat rates, so the kids, when they hop in the car, they can feel comfortable knowing they're not going to be driven around the block," said Larsen.

The fare is a flat $5.00 to go anywhere within a mile.

"Within a mile there's going to be a lot of hot spots, this town is kind of small, and so is Moscow," said Larsen.

Trips over a mile will cost more, but they don't charge more for extra passengers. The company prides itself on being clean.

"All of our cabs smell fresh, no smoking allowed in any of them," said Borden.

And on creating jobs for students who are working their way through college.

"We've hired 25 people in town so far," said Larsen.

With their drivers hired and their cars cleaned, College Cabs officially launched Friday. Now it's just a matter of seeing if the people on the Palouse call for a ride.

"I think we're ready to go," said Borden.

"Everybody's really rooting for us on both sides," said Larsen.

The toll-free number for College Cabs is 855-Taxi4Us.