By Haley Kluge
The Holt Journal
“The goal is to regulate taxi service,” Township Supervisor C.J. Davis said. “There is a tremendous demand that only runs for college students. You can’t get one in the middle of the day, and there are difficulties and issues in East Lansing, so Lansing came up with this proposal to try and spread the protection to Delhi Township.”
The initiative would force cab companies to cater to surrounding areas, including Delhi, Delta and Meridian Township, rather than staying exclusively to East Lansing.
“In Delta Township, they can barely get cabs to take hotel guests to the airports,” Wicks said. “There is such a high turnover rate near Michigan State, that people who need taxis in other areas are having hard times getting one. By having this blanket area, we want to eliminate that problem to encourage larger coverage.”
The association would also include the enforcement of basic safety procedures including driver certification, vehicle registration and enforce hours and coverage.
“The state is trying to stop regulating taxi cabs,” Wicks said. “So they want to leave it within local control.”
By participating in the association, cab companies would pay annual fees to the authority, which would replace the fees they currently pay to the city.
While the association’s goal is to create a uniform scheme for taxis over the mid-Michigan area, its initial and primary goal is safety.
“Bad things have happened in surrounding cities because drivers are unregistered or aren’t regulated properly,” Wicks said. “This has nothing to do with Uber or other safe-ride apps. We’re trying to figure out how those work in to this as well.”
However, despite the good intentions, some question the demanding outlines of the ordinance, which could hurt small operations.
“My personal concern is that this will put small businesses, who are trying to start up a small company of their own, completely out of business,” Trustee Jon Harmon said. “Then we start regulating the winners and losers.”
According to the proposed municipal partnership agreement, the companies would be required to have three or more licensed vehicles, approved taxi meters, one licensed driver available 24-7, in addition to other registration requirements.
“If you’re a small business, you can’t keep up with those demands,” Harmon said.
Despite the proposed issues, the board is considering the proposal, with a decision to come.