Wednesday, February 15, 2017

City's 1988 Taxi Ordinance Needs Review

So this was my view of Monday's City Council meeting. Not only was there a very controversial item affecting many taxicab owners, drivers and their families, two ceremonial matters were added, each honoring numerous individuals. Police officers had their hands full with crowd management, helping council members and city officials get through and making way for honorees to pass.

Someone posted brief video clips of the meeting on Facebook, featuring comments by Councilwoman Bridget Rivers. If I heard correctly (the sound was not clear), in one she urged the city to study the ordinance.

While there is more to the taxi issue than what is in Plainfield's ordinance, the only legislation that the governing body can change is what exists in Plainfield's Municipal Code. Longtime followers of city government may recall that it took about two years to create the taxicab ordinance, and at the time there were only a couple of companies, Apple Taxi being one. The owner objected to a rule that a company's taxis must all be the same color, arguing that apples come in different colors.

Whether it was the new, strict rules or something else, companies went out of business and for a time there were none left. It was not until the city population shifted, with a 67 percent increase in Latinos reflected in the 2010 Census, that the taxi business grew to meet the needs of new residents without cars.

I  joined the ranks of the car-less in 2008 when my 1991 Ford Escort gave out and I decided not to get another vehicle. I wrote three posts on taxis in July 2008, one on the companies at the time, one on fares and one showing the rate card. 

You can click on the image of the rate card to enlarge it. (The last two sentences were obsolete and I struck them out.)
Whatever happens with the towing penalty next month, the original ordinance probably needs to be reviewed and perhaps revised. It currently includes a dress code for drivers, requiring an item of clothing with the company's name on it, and forbids wearing sandals or shorts.

Drivers must also "Refrain from using vehicle horn or audible warning devices to summon passengers." We all know how well that rule is followed.

The city's population is shifting again, with an expected influx of renters for luxury apartments with limited parking. Many may prefer travel services such as Uber or Lyft over taxis, but there will still be residents who want a simple cash transaction, no apps with links to bank accounts. The taxi business will be with us for a while, so why not take a closer look and make sure those 1988 rules are still relevant?



  1. Nothing more than a political payback to the Plainfield taxi owners. In the last Primary they road around with the Mappets on their cabs which is a violation. This whole thing is a mess.

    1. Such haters. I guess your insistent pushing to have the violation and ordinance change has nothing to do with Mapp oppositions looking for campaign contributions from NP taxis owners and drivers. I’m sure your plan is to have your signs on display on their taxis come June.

  2. Well put Bernice. There should be a full analysis of the transportation needs of our residents before any punitive measures are added. It would be best to make it as non-partisan as possible, include hearings to bring in the voices of stakeholders, and provide ample time for research to derive an adequate policy for the future. Times, they change. We ought to be flexible and avoid faits accomplis that lead to chaos and mistrust.

  3. In this study, do not forget buses, trains that go East-West in town as well as one to Menlo Park?

  4. Without the towing there would still be provision to fine the offenders. What is the argument about here?

    1. I've been trying to figure this out the entire time! I feel like we're fighting over a black and white television! I thought video killed the radio star?

  5. Reality TV Show