With a bit of a new look, Van-Go Transportation is still alive and well in Clinton, as Charles Boykin and others seek to continue helping customers — private parties, Medicaid patients or just people who need a lift — get to their destinations.
Van-Go is now operating a taxi service in addition to continuing its Medicaid transports, with main offices located at 414 Northeast Blvd. near Matthews Drug. Many may have seen red, blue and gray taxis operated by the revamped and relocated business, which for two years was responsible for providing Medicaid transportation in the county.
Boykin said the taxi service is simply another arm of transportation provided by Van-Go, which is still very much in the Medicaid transportation business. It has contracts to provide such service in Harnett, Vance and Warren counties, with additional offices located in Dunn and Henderson. The office in Clinton serves Harnett County and still caters to Sampson, albeit without a contract.
“We added a taxi service and about 10 additional vehicles,” Boykin said this week, stating there were 24 total vehicles now in the fleet. That now includes six taxis, four of which are red, the others blue and grey.
The county’s Medicaid transportation provider since 2013, Van-Go has kept its current staffing in place. There are 18 employees operating out of Sampson, with an additional 14 in Henderson, he noted. There has been tremendous growth, even with the obstacles 2015 has brought.
Van-Go filed suit against the county at the end of June, maintaining that a faulty bidding process, conflicts of interest among county officials and “numerous improper and unlawful events” deprived them of securing a $2 million Medicaid transportation contract for the next two years, from 2015-17.
A judge subsequently ruled in favor of Sampson County, its Board of Commissioners and Enroute Transportation Services, denying Van-Go’s motion for a preliminary injunction and dissolving the company’s temporary restraining order in the matter of Medicaid transportation services. The judge found that Van-Go’s contentions lacked merit.
Boykin said Van-Go has appealed that ruling.
“It’s on appeal,” he asserted.
For now, Boykin said, the goal is to offer transportation for those who need it, from Medicaid patients who need to get to their appointments, to private parties and those who just need to get from one point to the other around town. Those visiting the office on Northeast Boulevard will find much of the same investment — a huge screen displays the latest tracking technology for its vehicles — just in a smaller location from its previous Warsaw Road building.
Originally from Washington, D.C. and in the financial field all his life, Boykin moved to Sampson 25 years ago. He didn’t think he could make it in that field here. But, on the advice of his uncle, he purchased a building in downtown Clinton and operated a mortgage company.
Boykin’s uncle Bobby Sampson operated Sampson Transportation and Veteran Taxi Cab at the time, something he did for years. Some of that rubbed off on his nephew.
“He told me his vision for Sampson County was to provide transportation all over the county, not just Medicaid transportation but he wanted (to offer) public transportation. I constantly thought about that when we first put the bid in for this contract,” Boykin said at the beginning of this year, alluding to the county’s two-year Medicaid contract. “I know he would have been extremely proud of Van-Go, because that was one of his dreams.”
Reach staff writer Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.