Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Final Passage or Revision for Taxi Ordinance?

The taxi towing penalty issue is now in its sixth month, heading for yet another vote on March 13 with overtones for the mayoral election.

Last year it was rejected with "no" votes from two council members who are now running for mayor, only to be revived this year with a council majority favorable to incumbent Mayor Adrian O. Mapp. Depending whom you ask, the issue is protecting city taxi business owners who pay for licenses and submit to other Plainfield rules versus a kind of free enterprise approach giving customers the right to call out-of-town taxis if they wish. Councilwoman Diane Toliver on Monday endorsed the argument that the towing penalty harms out-of-town taxi company owners and drivers who live in Plainfield and will take bread out of the mouths of their families.But won't allowing out-of-town companies to poach on city customers do the same to Plainfield residents employed by Plainfield companies?

An attorney for a North Plainfield taxi company tried to make a case against the towing penalty in three minutes during public comment, saying in part that there are no city licenses available and if other towns passed such laws, city taxis would encounter barriers in all surrounding towns. The towing penalty "adds insult to injury" by attempting to "destroy the ability of Soria or any other (company) to do business in Plainfield," attorney Michael Blacker said.

The rhetoric Monday included warnings of a "war" between Plainfield and North Plainfield taxis and many repetitions of how the penalty will take bread out of the mouths of children and families. The latter argument always seems somewhat fatuous to me, in that it appears to say breaking a law is OK if it is done to put bread on the table. It seems to echo the popular maxim, "Do what you gotta do" to get along, whether it is lawful or not.

In this case, perhaps a better route is to study the taxi ordinance and revise it, rather than escalate to draconian enforcement strategies. I repeat my call from last month to take a look at the taxi ordinance and revise as necessary.



  1. the out of town cabs come in because plainfielders call them for rides.
    Phil Mcrakin

  2. Why didn't the disenting counselors offer a resolution to increase the number of licenses in those 6 months? Something to make you go hmmmmm?

  3. Does North Plainfield, or any other community, restrict Plainfield taxis from picking up passengers in their towns? Under the proposed law can a North Plainfield passenger be driven by a North Plainfield cab to a location in Plianfield, the cab wait for the passenger, and then return the passenger to North Plainfield?
    We sometimes use Summit Limo company to go to the Airports. Am I now prevented from engaging them lest I endanger them when they are coming to pick me up? Where is Uber in all this?
    Does the proposed regulation really mean that if a cab has made an illegal pick up, and is apprehended, an elderly lady passenger with a load of groceries can be evicted, and left standing in the rain with her bag of groceries while the cab is impounded?

  4. One would hope that before the ordinance was even put on the agenda it was researched for all possible solutions, including legal and realistic revisions. If the current issues is the severity of the punishment, shouldn’t the punishment be harsh enough to create a deterrent from breaking the law, otherwise it’s useless. Again if any member of the council disagrees with this new ordinance they should start working on writing some form of legislation to change the current law, making this new penalty a moot point.

  5. When is the Wall going to be built in Plainfield to keep out the taxi's in the fair and welcoming city ? How many of the current taxi drivers live in Plainfield that have the licenses already or are do they live elsewhere.

  6. Penny for your ThoughtsMarch 8, 2017 at 2:29 PM

    Thank you for your posting Bernice.

    I agree with you in that the rationale for breaking the law is fatuous, yet, that is the similar fatuous rationale used by proponents of sanctuary cities and those who advocate for unregulated immigration policies. Proponents of “fair and welcoming” cities put forth the notion that “appears to say breaking the law is OK if it is done to put bread on the table”, ““Do what you gotta do” to get along, whether it is lawful or not.””

    Seems like a great deal of hypocrisy and double-speak on the part of local legislators and politicians who call for strict observance of local laws, yet, will encourage its citizens to resist federal/state laws.

    All so confusing!

  7. I must insist that if we are going to build a wall between the two cities - well, North Plainfield is going to have to pay for it.

  8. We are separated by the Green Brook. No wall needed just don't repair the bridges. Somerset County controls the western end, and Union County controls the eastern end. At least two in the western end have been shut down for years, one leading to Greenbrook and the other to North Plainfield.