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CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — Camp Humphreys soon will have 10 new taxis on duty, bringing to 50 the number working the big helicopter base.

A taxi shortage has been a key concern, especially in recent months, base officials have indicated.

The factory-new taxis will be on the road sometime in November, said Ron Daugherty, Army and Air Force Exchange Service general manager for the central and southern consolidated exchange.

Of especially pressing concern, Camp Humphreys officials said, have been complaints of long waits — sometimes an hour or more — for a taxi outside the post commissary.

Those complaints peaked earlier this summer with some commissary customers telling of perishable grocery items going bad in the heat while they awaited taxis, said Clarence F. Slawson, deputy to the Area III Support Activity commander at Camp Humphreys.

Col. Michael J. Taliento Jr., Area III commander, mentioned the problem Tuesday night at a quarterly town hall meeting at the post Community Activity Center, attended by about 140 people.

To ease effects of the shortage, Taliento about a month ago banned Camp Humphreys’ taxis from weekend trips to Osan Air Base, about 10 miles away.

“The primary reason,” Slawson said Wednesday, “is that we do not have enough taxis here to provide the support to the immediate community.

“As taxi service increases and the numbers increase, we look to lift that ban, or that restriction.”

AAFES officials also have arranged for the taxi service to give priority to the commissary on Saturdays and Sundays, when shoppers needing taxis are most numerous, Daugherty said.

“I call it ‘DECA duty,’” Daugherty said in reference to the agency that runs the commissaries, the Defense Commissary Agency.

“It was just a shift in priorities,” he said.

The new taxis await vehicle inspections and some other final preparations before joining the fleet, he said.

“As soon as they pass those last hurdles they’ll be on the road,” said Daugherty. “We won’t wait a day, I assure you.”

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