Saturday, September 30, 2023

It’s ‘More Than Just A Taxi Ride’ With Oxford’s Austin Blake

Austin Blake, owner of Austin Taxi, is collaborating with University of Mississippi alumnus Anna Larimore to write a book about his experiences as a taxi driver and business owner of Austin Taxi for the last five years.

The book, titled “It Was More Than Just a Taxi Ride” is in progress, but currently has no publication date. But Blake’s 4,272 Facebook friends and 1,079 followers of his fan page are eagerly anticipating the book, which will feature stories from Blake’s riders.

“This book is about a taxi driver that took the taxi business to a different level,” Blake said. “And I wanted the title ‘It Was More Than Just a Taxi Ride,’ because most of my rides are. It’s more than just getting from point A to point B. It’s a lot of laughter, conversations… heartwarming stories we share with one another.”

Writing a book wasn’t Blake’s original plan.

20“People have been telling me [to write a book] for years,” Blake said. “And one day it hit me. I said ‘I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna write a book.’”

Larimore, who graduated from Ole Miss in May 2016, is co-authoring Blake’s book, but considers herself as a guide more than an author.

“My journalism background and Austin’s experience will hopefully collaborate nicely to help Austin tell his stories of all of the people whose hearts he has touched through Austin Taxi,” Larimore said. “I don’t want to take away from Austin’s spotlight. I simply want to help guide him into turning his stories into a wonderful book by using my education and my talents to serve his vision.”

Blake and Larimore had a live session on Facebook on Sept. 16 to share some information about the book. Larimore no longer lives in Oxford, but said that she will be back again soon to organize more things with Blake.

Blake’s book is a compilation of stories from his taxi experiences, and encourages anyone who knows him to send in stories to Larimore’s or Blake’s Facebook pages. Blake previously posted stories on Facebook, but announced Sept. 6 that he would be saving stories for the book.

28“People were telling me they liked the stories I posted, you know. People liked my stories and I was amazed about it,” Blake said. “It’ll be true stories [in the book], but I’ll make it sound good.”

However, both Blake and Larimore are keeping the details of the book secret for now.

“Everyone can expect a book that is very raw and personal,” Larimore said. “Stories will be shared from many years back from many different customers of Austin Taxi. That’s all I’ll say right now.”

Larimore is more than just a co-author, however.

“I have been using Austin Taxi since before I was in college,” she said. “I also didn’t have a car in college until the second semester of my junior year. I started having Austin take me to class, to the grocery store, really anywhere I needed to go. During this time, we really bonded and got to know each other better.”

Larimore is one of what Blake calls his “baybees”: riders who have been loyal to his company since it began in September 2011.

Taylor Williams, also an Ole Miss alumnus, knew Blake when he was with another taxi company, Hotty Toddy Taxi.

“We started with Austin when he was with another taxi company, and our friends only requested him,” Williams said. “And he asked us one night when we were all in the cab,‘girls, would y’all ride with me if I started my own cab company?’ And we’re like, of course. We only ride with you anyways.”

Williams has known Blake for seven years now, but continues to call only him when she’s in Oxford.

“We don’t even know other cabs here. We don’t know what to do but call [Blake],” she said.

Above everything Blake is, from a taxi driver, business owner and author, he puts the safety and happiness of his “baybees” first, and loves what he does, even when the job gets tough.

“See, it look like it’s a hard job, but to me it’s fun,” he said. “You know, I enjoy what I do.”

By Darby Hennessey, an intern for She can be reached at