Laws will force taxis to park in designated areas

SOLANA BEACH — In response to complaints about cab drivers, especially along North Cedros Avenue, council members unanimously agreed at the Sept. 8 meeting to revise the municipal code that governs taxi operations in the city.
For the past few years city staff has received numerous complaints about cab drivers parking for long periods of time in front of homes and businesses — resulting in fewer spaces for residents and customers — blocking the public right of way and littering the area, especially with cigarette butts.
In the past two years the Sheriff’s Department responded to nine emergency calls regarding taxi drivers fighting with each other near the train station. Some cab drivers have also complained to the city about other taxi operators parking in front of driveways, parking the wrong way, double parking and violating red curb laws.
To find solutions, staff members patrolled the area, consulted with the Sheriff’s Department and contacted nearby cities to see how they dealt with the situation.
The new laws will make it illegal for cab drivers to stop, park, idle or stand at the curb or edge of any roadway except the four designated spots in front of the train station. Once a cab is hired, another can pull into the available space to wait for a fare.
Council members were concerned this would encourage taxi operators to drive around while waiting for business.
“I don’t want them circulating because they’re going to be circulating in our neighborhoods,” Councilman Joe Kellejian said. “It’s going to be adding traffic, which we don’t need and … it’s not good for our environment.”
City Manager David Ott said this may happen initially, but eventually drivers will realize it’s not effective or efficient.
Council members said they would support the addition of designated taxi spaces at the train station and area hotels if the North County Transit District and hotel operators agreed.
“There is a need for this,” Councilwoman Lesa Heebner said. “It does appear as if there’s loitering going on.
“There are so many different cabs there and there isn’t that much business,” she said. “I’d be supportive of helping the taxi cab drivers find the work appropriately and not just be there hanging out because that’s what it appears to be.”
The new laws will also make it illegal for cabs to operate with tinted windows. All permits, licenses, identification and proof of insurance must be available for inspection. The minimum liability insurance was also increased to $1 million, the same limit required in nearby Carlsbad and Oceanside.
Council members will review the changes in six months.


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