SHAMOKIN - Although Shamokin customers remain the "heart beat" of its business, Shamokin Yellow Cab has experienced success since expanding its services to the Pottsville area a few years ago under the name of Black Diamond Cab Company.

Ernie and Christine Delbo, of Atlas, who purchased the taxi service in Shamokin in 1991 from Swenda Cab Co., said they average approximately 400 calls per week in the Pottsville area.

"We've done pretty well since we expanded into Pottsville about three years ago," Ernie Delbo stated. "There was no taxi service in Pottsville at the time and the move certainly helped our business."

He said the company leases a garage at 900 W. Market St. owned by Bob Yanek and provides services from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. He said seven drivers work as independent contractors for Black Diamond Cab Company.

In addition to the Black Diamond taxis driving around Pottsville, Delbo also has several Para-Transit Shamokin Yellow Cab vehicles operating in that area.

"We are a subcontractor for Schuylkill Transportation System. That's why you see our Shamokin Yellow Cabs in Pottsville," he said. "We also are a subcontractor for Rabbittransit in Northumberland County," he said, referencing the public transit provider contracted by the county.

The Shamokin office at 212 W. Independence St. handles approximately 75 calls per day in Shamokin and 10 in Mount Carmel. Five drivers are employed as independent contractors in Shamokin.

In addition to the drivers in Shamokin and Pottsville, the company has four other employees, including dispatchers and office personnel. Shamokin Yellow Cab and Black Diamond Cab operate about 10 taxis.

Services in Shamokin are provided from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. Business hours for Mount Carmel area residents are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The telephone numbers for the Shamokin and Pottsville offices are 648-5756 and 628-5000, respectively.

"Most of our customers are senior citizens," Delbo said. "Taxi cabs aren't used nearly as much today as in the past, but we believe we offer a valuable service to people who have no other means of getting around.

"Shamokin is the heart beat of our business; it's still a good town with good people," he continued. "We've also received good cooperation from Schuylkill Transportation System and customers in Pottsville."