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City targets illegal cab operations

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.

Comments

VonMises 1 year, 10 months ago

This is a perfect example of local regulations shutting out entrepreneurs. In the early 1900's European immigrants coming to this country would simply slap a sign saying "TAXI" on their car and instantly they were a self-employed businessman. In the 1930's New York City implement a medallion system to limit competition in the taxi industry. What NYC did in the 1930's was pushed by large taxi companies to remove these self-employed taxi operators. In these hard economic times we should be encouraging the kind of self reliance these enterprising citizens demonstrate. Instead, Covington increases regulations and fees. This will not improve the local taxi system as which Turner said did not have a problem. This measure will put desperate people attempting to provide for themselves out of work.

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John 1 year, 10 months ago

@VonMises, In the early 1900's many things were a lot different that today. The automobile was just started being mass produced in 1903 by Henry Ford - so there weren't a lot of taxis around then and people walked. Do you once believe that these "entrepreneurs' follow all the rules & regulations that legitimate taxi companies do? These rules are there to protect the public - things like sufficient insurance coverage for the passengers. If you cave in to the non licensed taxi operators then the legits should be not held to the established rules & regulations. You can't have two sets of rules, period. During that period of immigration from Europe they all immigrated legally through Ellis Island.

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VonMises 1 year, 10 months ago

I agree with several of your points. For one, things are alot different today and not always for the better. You are also right that you can not have two sets of rules. I do not see why ANY taxi company needs to pay fees and registrations. Driving a taxi is not brain surgery. Anyone who can safely drive a car can do it. We already have a test for that. I don't claim to be an insurance expert, but my insurance covers my passangers. I would assume that there are similar plans availalbe for commercial vehicles. I would recomend you watch John Stossel's special Illegal Everything http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBiJB8... The secion about Taxi's begins at 12:40

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John 1 year, 10 months ago

Well every one has an opinion but taxis need to be regulated like any other passenger carrier - buses, chauffeurs (high class taxi drivers), planes, trains, etc. Compared to countries like Great Britain & Japan the regulations in the US are quite simple. In Mexico, Central and South America any one can be taxi driver, even if the taxi has no seat belts, smokes like a chimney, no working A/C and rides like a baby buggy down a wash board road.
Getting a drivers license and passing the test in the US is no big deal - the testing today doesn't even require an extensive road test - it did at one point in time and the way many folks drive their lack of proper training shows. Heck, there are a lot of people that drive that can't push a shopping cart though Wal-Mart properly.

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John 1 year, 10 months ago

FYI - i did a little research and found the following guesstimate - in 1910 in the US there were approximately 8000 car on the road & there was about 144 miles of paved road. Wonder how many were taxis.

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Billy 1 year, 10 months ago

How is this relevant? There should be regulations, sure. But where is your example of gross abuse or disaster to argue this point? If someone pays me $10 to drive them from K-mart to Wal-Mart, what business is it of the gov'ts, or of yours?

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John 1 year, 10 months ago

If you took time to read all the comments my point is very simple. VonMises stated in the early 1900s - a "taxi" could be anyone that wanted to stick a sign on the side of a vehicle. Muck like what some people are doing today without following the rules & regulations that legitimate businesses have to do. These rules and regulations are there to protected the consumer. My comment based on the number of vehicle on the road in 1910 - there probably wasn't much need for taxi service. Obviously, if someone (like a neighbor or a friend) drives you somewhere and you pay them money it isn't none of my business. But if that someone represents them as a 'legit" taxi or shuttle service without following the rules & regs - yes I have a problem with that. Kinda' like unlicensed plumber, roofers, dentists, doctors etc. etc.

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