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Meet the Owners: Caitlin Kelly and Richard Pearlman of Kelly's Car Service

Daughter of owners, manager talk about Bayside car service, which is nearing 100 years in the community.

For nearly a century, Bayside’s has been shuttling Queens residents all across the five boroughs and beyond.

The auto service, located at 212-35 42nd Ave., was founded in 1914 by William Kelly, a Manhattan-based yellow cab driver who moved out to Bayside to form his own car service.

Kelly left the business to his son, William Jr., who was then succeeded by Edward and Eileen Kelly.

Caitlin Kelly said she will be the fourth generation of her family to operate the car service once her parents retire.

“I’ve been working on learning the ins and outs of the business,” she said. “My parents are still the ones in charge, but I’ve been doing the accounting and billing.”

Richard Pearlman, the auto service’s manager, said Kelly’s currently has an assortment of 14-passenger vans, town cars, minivans and other vehicles that transport customers to anywhere in the five boroughs, Long Island and, occasionally, as far as Buffalo.

“We pride ourselves on our dependability and our respect of people’s appointments and time,” Pearlman said. “We believe we are a step above other local car services. Families trust us with their kids. We have a lot of people call from out of state to help with their elderly relatives, who have given up their licenses and need a safe, reliable form of transportation. We’re very sensitive to people’s needs.”

He said the company also undertakes a number of corporate jobs, such as transporting youngsters to or providing shuttles for events.

Kelly’s has flat rates for trips to specific sites, such as LaGuardia Airport ($26) or John F. Kennedy International Airport ($36).

Customers who are picked up in Bayside will pay a $6 flat rate for a ride to the Bay Terrace shopping center, Windsor Park or Springfield Boulevard.

Rates vary for different parts of Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn and other locales.

“Everything varies by zone,” Pearlman said. “We go everywhere and try to make things as fiscally prudent as possible, so we can get ongoing business from people. We are aware of the economic times, so we try our best to keep our prices as stable as possible.”

Kelly said the car service has a diverse group of drivers, including men, women, veterans, former cab drivers and city residents who have never driven professionally but were assisted by Kelly’s in obtaining a license from the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

The company is currently searching for new drivers to add to its dispatch.

Pearlman, who started at the company 17 years ago, said many of the drivers have worked for Kelly’s since the 1970s.

“Most of us are neighborhood people,” he said. “I live four blocks away.”

Kelly said the car service tries to give back to the community through a variety of ways, such as sponsoring Little League teams.

“We’re a beacon in the neighborhood,” Pearlman said. “And we’re open 24 hours, so there’s someone always here if, God forbid, someone needs help."

To catch a ride with Kelly’s, customers may visit its walk-up stand or call 718-229-4141 or 718-229-6161 to make an appointment.

“We have a definite following,” Pearlman said. “I still get calls from people who moved to Long Island, but still want us to pick them up and take them into the city. As long as there is a prearranged place, people can call to get picked up and taken anywhere.”

Robert Wasserman September 10, 2012 at 11:11 AM
I would use Kelly's car service, only as a last resort. The employees are disrespectful and non-caring toward customers. 1) Every day they park their vehicles on the sidewalk (which are for pedestrians) so that a person walking down the sidewalk to the Post Office cannot easily pass, except by squeezing thru the small space (sometimes 1 ft or less) left between vehicles parked on this sidewalk; 2) one day, while I was negotiating my way accross the sidewalk, an employee opened the door to the office and spit out in the air toward the street. When I pointed this out as totally improper and against the health code his answer was: "I missed you, didn't I?); 3) When I went into the office to register a complaint, not one person expressed any interest in listening to my complaint. This is not the kind of conduct I expect from a Bayside Business, not any other kind of business establishment. Since that time I have used several other Car Services who all show respect, and present none of the disrespect associated with Kelly's Car Service. From my personal experiences, described above, I would not patronize Kelly's Car Service until they were willing to make changes in the way they conduct themselves and their business.
Phil Konigsberg September 11, 2012 at 05:52 PM
When you operate a business for nearly a century, you can be sure that there will be situations where things could have been done better. But I would expect that these incidents are the exception rather than the rule. I have not had the occasion to use a car service that often, although they were right there when I needed them late at night a few years ago. My car had been illegally towed from 39th and Bell. I was rather upset about the situation but needed to get home I was glad to know that Kelly's Car Service was around all night and right in the area, so I walked over to them and got a comforting ride home. Kelly's was the first car service I thought about that night and it is still the first car service I would think to call now. They are a fixture in the Bayside/Bay Terrace community. If the issues you referred to above still exist then I would suggest that you call Kelly's and either ask to speak to Richard Pearlman directly or make an appointment to meet him at the office and discuss your concerns. I met Mr. Pearlman a few months ago to discuss a business option on the spur of the moment (without an appointment) and I have found him to be very cordial and he followed through immediately with a proposal what I had requested.

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