Taxi routes change at Churchill Downs for Kentucky Derby - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Taxi routes change at Churchill Downs for Kentucky Derby

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Taxi drivers are unhappy with route changes at Churchill Downs for this weekend's Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby.

Instead of dropping off customers at gate one, taxi drivers must drop off and pick up at Wagner's Pharmacy at the intersection of 4th Street and Central Avenue, nearly a mile from the gate.

James Radermaker, manager of Green Cab of Louisville, is concerned that Churchill Downs' new plan will hurt taxi drivers during their busiest time of year and affect customers with disabilities.

"We're almost three blocks from the track," Radermaker said. "Disabled, handicap people -- that's a long walk for them."

The walk from Wagner's Pharmacy to gate one takes about five minutes.

Track officials say the change was necessary to ease congestion and traffic flow, and will accommodate more taxi cabs.

"We're going to have much more space for many more cabs," said John Asher, vice president of communications at Churchill Downs. "The number of cabs will more than double there at any time."

Asher also says there's a plan in place for people who need help getting from the taxi compound to the track.

"Anyone who takes a cab who has a special need -- we're going to have golf carts there, we'll have wheelchairs there, we'll have guest services employees."

Churchill Downs even planned ahead for a change in the forecast.

"In the event of rain, especially at the cab station, we will be fully stocked there with ponchos and things of that nature so the Derby hat won't be drooping by the time you get to gate one," Asher said.

Nevertheless, Radermaker does not think customers will like the new plan any more than taxi drivers.

"I'm sure there will be a lot of complaints this year when they find out they've taken the cab and we can only get 'em within three blocks of the track," said Radermaker.

The new route change for taxi cabs will only be in effect for Oaks and Derby, and will return to normal routes next week.

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