Mitsuru Tweedy, 20, had his first day as a dispatcher at K2 Taxi two years ago. Tweedy, who also goes by Professor, didn’t know what he was getting into, and he certainly didn’t know that he would find a second family.
Unfortunately, that family is losing its home. K2 is closing for good on Saturday.
“We were told a few months ago. Our boss wanted to give us enough time to get our things in order,” Tweedy said. “I’m really grateful he did that.”
For the next few days, Tweedy ate junk food and binged Trailer Park Boys on Netflix.
But he came to a fork in the road and got his act together, he said. Now he has a new job lined up, but he’s going to miss the family he’s found.
“Any advice I need, I can ask people for help,” Tweedy said. “I didn’t really know what I was walking into. But I like everybody here, even the customers.”
Owner Ryan Kohlman was not available for comment.
Rideshare services, like most industries, have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A study done by CarGurus early in the pandemic found that almost 40% of 722 people surveyed expected to use rideshare services less or not at all when the U.S. economy began to reopen. In the same study, about 49% said that they would use their own vehicle.
Tweedy and his coworkers don’t know for sure why K2 is closing. Tweedy theorizes that it has to do with a new Medicaid transportation service.
“A good chunk of our business, probably about 80%, is transporting Medicaid patients,” Tweedy said.
With K2 closing, Sunshine Rides is now the sole taxi service in Grand Junction.
Dalton Meridith, 26, who also works at K2, said that K2 also transports homeless people. Drivers would transport them across town to churches and shelters so that they could have a place to stay or grab a meal. Tweedy worries that some took advantage of that service, while Meridith hopes that something fills the gap that the business leaves.
“I was looking at making this a long-term thing. We’re like a little family here,” Meridith said. “I’m going to miss the people, including our boss, the most.”