COVINGTON -- The city of Covington is cracking down on those operating illegal taxicab operations and will be enforcing new inspection requirements on all operations within the city.
The City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance regulating taxicab operations at its Sept. 17 meeting. Assistant Chief of Police Almond Turner said there have been reports of illegitimate taxicab operations in the city. Turner said individuals are identifying themselves as taxicab service providers even though they are not properly licensed or registered with the city.
"There have been charges brought against people operating without a license. We decided it would be a good idea to look at the present ordinance as related to taxicabs," Turner said on Monday. The result is a "more strict ordinance with more responsibilities for those that operate within the city."
Turner said that a couple of legitimate taxicab service providers have complained about those that are illegally operating.
"I think it's something needs to be addressed and taken care of before it becomes a problem," he said.
The new ordinance will require taxicab services to apply and pay for a permit issued by the Covington Police Department. Permits will be issued after taxicabs have been inspected. Permits will have to be renewed on an annual basis. Taxicab drivers will be required to be permitted at a cost of $100 and drivers will be checked for criminal convictions, traffic violations and citizenship status.
Taxicab companies will also be required to have liability insurance of $100,000 bodily injury to one person and $300,000 for injuries to more than one person sustained in an accident and $50,000 for property damage.
Taxicabs will be required to have markings on the front doors in letters not less than 4 inches high and in colors contrasting with the color of the taxi denoting the telephone number and full name of the taxicab company. An identification decal issued to applicants that have successfully passed the police department's inspection must also be displayed on the front and rear windshield of each cab.
Cabs will also be required to have an identification insignia on top that is electrically illuminated at night and must carry either the name of the company the word taxi, taxicab or cab; but does not have to be illuminated when the cab is occupied.
Numbers assigned by the CPD must also be displayed on front and rear bumpers. Taxicabs under the same taxicab company will be required to be painted the same color scheme, approved by the CPD.
Cab drivers will be required to maintain a daily manifest record of each trip showing time and place of origin, destination and amount of fare paid for each trip. The manifests must be kept by the taxicab company for at least one year and be available for inspection by the CPD. Companies must also file their rate schedule with the CPD and will not be allowed to charge in excess of the rate schedule. Turner said existing services will have a grace period to get in compliance with the new ordinance.
The final reading of the ordinance is scheduled for the Oct. 1 meeting at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.