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Taxi companies talk regulations

BY LINDSEY DRILLING | SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 5:00 AM

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Officials from the Iowa City police met with taxi drivers and owners to discuss new regulations about safety for cab drivers and their customers.

“The issues that have come to light during recent investigations are our objective …” said Iowa City police Sgt. Derek Frank. “Our goal is for safety not to cause hardships on the taxicab companies.”

Frank said new taxi regulations are still being planned and will not be presented to the Iowa City City Council just yet.

The police identified three main issues when it comes to public safety and taxi drivers during the Taxicab Ordinance Forum on Tuesday.

One of the issues discussed was that owners are not always able to provide accurate or timely information about the company’s current vehicles or occasionally even the drivers.

Solutions at the forum to solve current issues included having companies own all of their own cabs, as well as dispatch from an accessible office 24/7. By doing this investigating, officers would be able to access taxi information at any time of day.

“Companies should have a log and be able to account for all their drivers and cars,” said Roman Schomanberger, a driver for Yellow Cab.

Roger Bradley, who owns Yellow Cab in Iowa City, said the business is working with new methods to help keep its customers safer.

“We are currently working with an outside company to help better train our drivers,” Bradley said.
Bradley said Yellow Cab is also one of the few companies that has GPS in all of its cars. The GPS locators help company officials know where their drivers and cars are.

Customers not always being able to identify authorized taxis and drivers was also addressed at the forum. The city recommends all drivers have Iowa City-issued IDs in their cars.

Robin Reyes, owner of Red Line Cab, also said she would like to see an increase in safety measures this way. She added it would be beneficial for city color-coded ID cards to match the individual cab company’s colors. 

Officials and company owners also discussed the necessity that each cab company is identifiable, using unique color schemes that are known by their customers.

Although sexual assault was not on the Taxicab Forum agenda, many owners and managers discussed pre-existing rules or programs for prevention.

Bradley said his company makes sure all the drivers are screened before being hired. Their screening process includes a background check on criminal records and driving records.

Reyes said sexual assault is not tolerated in her company.

“[If one of my drivers sexually assaulted a customer], I would call the police and have them arrested,” she said. “They would also be fired on the spot.”


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