After 30 years without a dedicated taxi, Dorrigo now has two – a sedan and a wheelchair-accessible maxi.
Greg McLeod said expanding the footprint of Bellingen Shire Taxis was something his late father, Doug McLeod, had always wanted to do.
“Dad had the taxis in Bellingen and then he bought Urunga,” Greg said. “The idea of the Bellingen Shire Taxis was born back then.
“Since my wife Susan and I took over, that was something we’ve been planning to do – follow what Dad dreamed of and put a taxi up in Dorrigo.”
Greg and Susan began running the business in 2015, three years after Doug died.
“Mum had no desire to continue after going after the loss,” Greg said. “To give all the drivers credit, it was them who kept it going pretty much on their own for the first few years.”
Doug, Susan and their four children were were living on the Fraser Coast, operating their own business, the Wide Bay Equestrian Park Horse Riding School, when the call came to come and help grandma.
“Our two girls are still up there running our equine business,” Greg said. “We breed the Spanish dancing horse, the Andalusian. So the girls are looking after the eight stables and our 30 or so horses. All of a sudden, your life just turns on its head when you have to step up and help the family.”
Greg and Susan have been working in Dorrigo over the past week, sitting at the taxi rank near the corner of Cudgery and Hickory streets, so they’ve been well placed to know how the new service is being received.
“So many people have come past and said ‘What’s going on here?’” Greg said. “And I’d get out and say hello, and they’d say, ‘This is fantastic, it’s going to be so good.’”
Having lunch at the Hotel Dorrigo, he and Susan found themselves part of a group conversation with everybody in the restaurant section.
“We were having our meal and it was just a nice country town atmosphere. People were saying they remembered a taxi being here in 1984, and they reckoned that’s the last time the taxi was in service in Dorrigo. Over 30 years ago.”