Enforcement of new taxicab regulations begins

Enforcement of new taxicab regulations begins
Michael Casey president of Yellow Cab runs a fleet of 75 cabs, 13 of those cabs are now owned by co-op owners. Photo by Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — New taxicab regulations that require companies to have 10 or more cabs in their fleet, one ADA compliant cab, GPS dispatching, and no vehicles more than 7 years old will be immediately and actively enforced with a campaign of sting operations. City Manager Peter Weiss said enforcement of the regulations would entail cab companies being called for an Oceanside pick up. Those drivers who are not displaying a city medallion that shows they meet regulations will be cited.

Oceanside is unique in requiring cabs to display the city medallion on the front windshield. San Diego County and other coastal cities require the medallion that shows compliance be displayed on the back windshield.

The revised regulations were passed Sept. 19, 2012, and took effect Oct. 19, 2012.

Oceanside works to enforce new cab regulations passed in September. A city medallion on cab windshields assures riders that the cabs meet city standards. Photo by Promise Yee

Michael Casey president of Yellow Cab said Oceanside has long required cab companies to have franchises.

In September city staff initially took a turn in the opposite direction and recommended that taxicab companies be deregulated, but City Council responded by adopting stricter regulations for cab companies in order to provide residents and visitors with higher quality cab service.

The Yellow Cab and 24-7 Taxi Cab companies currently meet all city requirements.

Owners and drivers of a couple of small cab companies spoke against the new regulations before they were passed.

Jenny Oakson, president of Coastal Cab, said her company did not meet the requirement of having 10 cabs. Other drivers said they could not afford costly required equipment.

A provision was included that allows owners to work under the franchise of a cab company that meets city regulations.

Casey said the provision gives individuals the opportunity to buy in as part of the business co-op and have the perks of the company’s new vehicles and equipment.

The benefit to the community is that cab companies can provide full city service.

Casey said without regulations one-cab companies could come in and limit service to high pickup rate areas.

“The one-cab guys would be lining up downtown and the little old lady with her ice cream cone at the store is not going to get picked up,” Casey said.

Since the regulations were passed Yellow Cab has sold 13 cabs in its 75-cab fleet to co-op owners. Carlsbad West bought two cabs in the co-op to operate in Oceanside. Co-op rates for Yellow Cab began at $40,000 and are currently at $45,000 to $50,000 a share.

“The way individual drivers can sign up under the umbrella of Yellow Cab is a decent compromise,” Councilman Gary Felien said. “I was never comfortable with the 10 cab minimum.”

Regulations were passed by a unanimous vote.

“We’re really concerned about service to the whole city,” Councilman Jerry Kern said. “The number, age of new cabs, and safety criteria best serve the community.”

“There is a fine line between service for the community and freelance business,” Kern added. “What we chose right now is good service to the community.”



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