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MORE LICENSES, HIGHER FARES IN TAXI LAW

black-taxiRed Bank is expected to adopt changes made to its taxi licensing ordinance. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

After hashing out concerns with local cabbies over proposed changes to Red Bank’s taxi licensing ordinance, the borough council is poised to adopt a new version of regulations that features more licenses and “substantially reduces fees.”

But a person hopping into a cab will pay more.

The changes to the ordinance were made after local officials met with more than a handful of cab drivers and owners last week, and the council will vote on the revised version at the council’s next meeting October 25.

But town hacks haven’t gotten a good look at those changes, and will have their chance to voice any lingering concerns at that meeting.

“We really didn’t find out too much,” said Andrew Curtin, owner of Red Bank Yellow Car. “We’re really going to find out in depth at the meeting two weeks.”

Although some of the changes he heard about are positive — most notably the reduced fees for licenses and making it easier for transfers if an owner sells their business — Curtin said he’s concerned that the proposal to add five more licenses will hurt drivers.

“They say they want competition. There’s a lot of competition out there,” he said. “The only thing it really hurts is the drivers. They’re just going to be making less money.”

The council, after hearing that some companies were holding onto licenses in order to keep an edge on the competition, initiated an overhaul of its regulations. It hit a couple of delays when drivers and owners started raising their voices about the changes.

A meeting with those people led to the current draft of the ordinance, Mayor Pasquale Menna said.

“By and large I think this addresses most of their concerns,” he said.

Also included in the changes are some fare hikes for passengers.

For fewer than two passengers the base rate jumps from $3.25 to $3.75 if not crossing Maple Avenue.  Rides that cross Maple will cost $4.25, up from the present $3.75. Additional passengers will be charged $1.00, up from 50 cents. And if you make the cab wait, you’ll pay $22 an hour instead of $20 if the ordinance is adopted.

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