Brick Township officials have introduced an ordinance that will require more background checks on taxi drivers in the township and ban people convicted of certain crimes from driving cabs.
“It’s a person you probably wouldn’t want to get a ride with in the first place” who would be barred from being a cabbie, Council President Susan Lydecker said.
The proposed ordinance, which requires a public hearing and second vote before adoption, lists kidnapping, arson, sexual assault, burglary and sex crimes as those which would disqualify a person from being able to operate a taxi. Endangering the welfare of a child, escape, extortion and homicide are also disqualifiers.
“If you are found guilty after a hearing for operating a taxicab without a license or without an operator’s permit, there will be fines and penalties for that,” said Lydecker.
The fines range from $1,000 for a first offense to $1,500 and $2,000 for second and third offenses, respectively. A fourth offense will get a company’s business license revoked. Taxi operators will also face fines in the hundreds of dollars for failing to display rates in their cabs, charging an excessive fare and failing to display an operator’s permit.
“I think we should go a little further,” said Councilman Jim Fozman, favoring tougher enforcement to back up the threat of a fine in the ordinance.
“We’re having a problem with the taxicab drivers not being licensed to drive a cab,” he said. “They could hire anybody, but the only way to catch them is to have them pulled over by the police and check the license. We should enforce that fine. Fine the driver and fine the company.”
The hearing and second vote on the ordinance is expected to come at the Oct. 21 council meeting.