TAXI LAW CHANGES JUNKED, AGAIN

25Cabbies, mostly in the background, helped fill the council chambers Monday night to oppose proposed changes to local regs. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

As if in a strange time warp to 2008, an overflowing council chambers was the scene for another round of “let’s kill this taxi idea.”

The names and faces at Monday night’s council meeting were familiar, and their cry unchanged from the last time they huddled into the chambers: increasing the number of taxi licenses is bad for business.

And just as before, the second attempt to revise the borough’s taxi ordinance ran into a ditch.

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COUNCIL DELAYS CAB CHANGES

yellow-carAny changes to the current taxi ordinance in Red Bank will have to wait while the borough council does more investigating. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

If the borough council is going to make any changes to its taxi ordinance, it’s going to make sure they are the right ones, Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna said Monday night, when a scheduled adoption of the amended ordinance was tabled.

The delay comes two weeks after the council proposed changes to its ordinance that would place tighter controls on cab owners and operators, some of whom are believed to be hording licenses in an effort to tamp down competition. But since the ideas were brought forward, the council has received a deluge of comments and critiques from those in the business, and the council is listening.

“If we’re going to make changes to the ordinance, they should be the best possible changes,” Menna said.

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CABBIES OPPOSE LICENSE CHANGES

taxiCab drivers in Red Bank are opposed to a proposal to raise fees and increase the number of cars allowed to operate in the borough. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A proposal to increase the number of taxis allowed to operate in town and to hike the license fees has Red Bank hacks riled up.

About a dozen taxi drivers and dispatchers who believe the current rules work just fine came to take up a few rows in the council chambers Monday night, when the ordinance change was introduced.

The council had decided to amend the ordinance to curb what it sees as a hording problem in which larger companies buy and sit on licenses without using them, thereby squeezing out competition.

That just isn’t the case, says Gary Damanti, who represents Red Bank Yellow Car Company.

“I think a lot of the steps in this ordinance really address problems that don’t exist,” he said.

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METER RUNNING OUT ON CAB LICENSE RULES?

taxi1Red Bank brass is looking to level the playing field for local cab companies. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Peter Muller started up a taxi business, P&M Taxi, four months ago on West Front Street, but he’s been caught in a jam ever since.

He wanted to obtain licenses for two taxis from Red Bank, but only got one because there were no more available, he was told.

Muller said the larger cab companies have control over the licenses, and subsequently, the business. He believes there should  be more licenses given in town, or stricter controls on companies that pocket the ones not in use.

“I’m just trying to make a living,” said Muller, who is 68 and retired, but can’t make it on Social Security. “Just give me two. I’ll be happy with that.”

There’s a hording problem in Red Bank’s taxi world, some cabbies say, and local officials are again looking at ways to create more competition and make it much harder to pocket coveted hackie credentials.

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SOMEBODY CALL A CAB?

taxi-accident-091309A taxicab somehow wound up on top of the fence outside a home at Branch Avenue and Tower Hill Avenue in Red Bank at about 5:30p Sunday.

No official explanation for what happened was immediately available. (Click to enlarge)

CAB INVOLVED IN ACCIDENT

yellowcabwreck

A taxicab ended up on the sign island in front of Strollo’s Lighthouse at North Bridge and Shrewsbury avenues in Red Bank Wednesday evening after a two-vehicle accident. Details about the crash and the extent of injuries, if any, were not immediately available from police. (Photo courtesy of Bill Day)