At its Nov. 10, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council gave final approval to a set of changes to its taxicab ordinance. The changes make explicit how long a taxicab company license is valid (10 years) and spell out some additional conditions on revocation or suspension of the company license.
The revisions also add reasons that can be used for suspending an individual taxicab driver’s license, which include a city administrator’s view that a driver “has acted in an unprofessional, harassing or threatening manner to passengers, or others.”
At the council’s Oct. 17, 2011 meeting, when the revision had received its initial approval, Tom Crawford – the city’s chief financial officer – had briefed the council on the changes. Crawford serves as a non-voting member of the city’s taxicab board, which had recommended those changes. Crawford characterized the changes as falling in three areas. In the first area, related to licensing, Crawford said that in the past the city had seasonal operators who would want to come in and work the football season and then disappear. The ordinance is being changed so that if a company ceases operation for 45 days, the city can revoke the license. Crawford explained that a healthy taxicab industry needs stability and this is a mechanism to help guard against companies frequently coming in and out of the market.
Another area of change has to do with solicitations and how the companies represent themselves. Several companies advertise themselves as taxis, but they’re in fact limousines. Crawford characterized it as a safety issue for someone who believes a vehicle is a taxi, but it’s in fact a limo. [A taxi is per code "... accepting passengers for hire within the boundaries of the city as directed by the passenger." A limousine is pre-booked.] If a company holds itself out as a taxicab company, it has to be licensed as a taxicab company, Crawford said. [The city's taxicab code already prohibits advertising in the reverse direction – it prohibits taxicabs from holding themselves out as limousines.]
This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]