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Taxi ordinance modified

Just a couple months after adopting a city ordinance relating to taxis, the South Lake Tahoe City Council is now considering changing it.

The changes were actually brought up at a Nov. 16, 1998 meeting when the ordinance was adopted.

At that meeting, City Attorney Catherine DiCamillo advised council members that changes made to the ordinance that night could force the council to hold additional readings before adoption.



Due to the amount of time the outgoing council, including Margo Osti and Kevin Cole,spent on the ordinance, had spent constructing the ordinance, the council decided to pass it in its current form and allow the current council to revise it.

Despite the hours logged developing the ordinance, council members still didn’t like a few parts of it.




As the ordinance is currently written, a taxi operator must hold a California license. Several taxi purveyors complained that many of their drivers live opposite the state line and hold Nevada driver’s licenses.

The taxicab council subcommittee is recommending taxi drivers be allowed to hold either a California or Nevada license.

Other recommended changes include raising the minimum age for drivers from 18 to 21, prohibiting the use of radio scanning equipment for the purpose of monitoring competitors fares and a requirement that fares be posted on the exterior of each cab.

At the Nov. 16 hearing, taxi business owners complained to the council that other taxi businesses were using radio scanners, similar to those used by law enforcement and emergency personnel, to find out where other taxi companies were dispatching their drivers. They said the other taxis would arrive at the spot first and “jump” their rightful fare.

At the Jan. 5 council meeting, Mayor Judy Brown told the audience and her fellow council members about three couples vacationing on South Shore for New Year’s Eve who’d been charged flat fares for taxi rides.

Brown asked the city’s staff to look into ways of alleviating this problem when they looked at changes to the taxi ordinance.

The amendment to the ordinance also will include the use of alcohol screening for drivers, and Chief of Public Safety Services Brad Bennett will be authorized to make modifications to the ordinance in the future “provided they are necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public.”

DiCamillo said the chief’s policies and actions can be appealed to the council.

Tuesday’s reading is the first of the proposed amendment. If it passes the first reading, it will be subject to a second reading at a future council meeting.

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