Meet the driving force behind town for 45 years

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

WHEN it comes to buying local, nothing fits the bill more than a taxi service.

And in Market Rasen – whether it is a short trip to the doctor or home from the shops, an appointment in Lincoln or a airport departure – Blanchards Taxis has been serving the local community for 45 years.

Tony Blanchard is the third generation of his family to work in the transport trade.

In 1934, grandfather Charles W Rowett ran Bottlenose Bedfords from Bleasby. Then, in the 1940s, Tony’s Aunty Mary took over the taxis, until she moved to Felixstowe when she married in the 50s.

It was in 1966 that Tony’s father, George, started Blanchards Taxis based at his house in Caistor Road. The business then moved to the corner shop at the bottom of Union Street before transferring to the current site in Jameson Bridge Street.

When George died in 1995 the firm moved to Willingham Road in order to house the coaches, but ten years later Tony brought the business back to Jameson Bridge Street, where he now employs 14 people and runs a fleet of six taxis and three eight-seater minibuses, as well as a white stretch limousine to cater for the prom and party trend.

But it’s not just the transport that needs to be kept up to date, says Tony.

“The amount of building that has been going on in Market Rasen over the past five years has certainly kept us on our toes.

“Since we started the business, the number of streets and closes in the town have more than doubled, so the drivers have to keep up to date with any new buildings that go up.”

But even this well-established Rasen business feels more could be done by the authorities to help support them.

“At the moment, we have to get licensed every three years, which costs over £300 for each driver. But now, there are plans to change this to every year,” said Tony.

“This will put a lot of extra financial pressure on all taxi firms and we would urge the councils to think again.

“There is so much red tape and clutter to do with our trade – having to register with both West Lindsey and Lincoln councils for instance – it would be a lot easier if it was all under one lot of people.”

As for promoting town businesses, Tony is fully behind the Buy Local campaign.

“All us businesses need to work together and help the town.

“This year’s Christmas lights in the Market Place, for example, are a great addition thanks to the hard work of Brian and Jayne at The Chase.

“I hope people continue to support them, so we can have the lights all the way down the main street next year.”