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SF Leaders Review Taxi Ordinance

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For two years Sioux Falls City Council members have been working to change a more than 30-year-old ordinance that hasn't been touched. As Sioux Falls grows, more taxi cab companies are being started, and some owners are upset about how some of those businesses are run.

Ten years ago there were two taxi companies in Sioux Falls, now there are 22.

Sioux Falls City Councilman Kenny Anderson Jr. said," The ordinance was written in 1982, and since then it really hasn't been updated or changed in any way."

Anderson is the chair of the Public Services Committee. The committee has been working on changing the taxi ordinance for months.

At the top of the list is requiring cab companies to get a yearly inspection by a licensed mechanic. Right now only company mechanics check cabs. Anderson said by having a licensed mechanic check the car, city leaders can keep tabs on the vehicles. Council members also want fare rates posted and require every car have a meter so passengers can see the price of their ride.
“Having a physical address, so our inspectors can come and check records too," said Anderson.
Some companies are run out of homes or motels, Anderson said a professional office space is needed for any business.
Thomas Werner, Co-Owner, 1st Choice Taxi said, "Several of the changes they are looking to address have been needed for a long time."
Werner sees both the good and the bad in the proposed changes. His biggest concern is a change that would require companies to run 24/7.
"If we make it impossible for the single man operator to operate, it could affect the industry in the short term," Werner said.

Werner said out of the 22 cab companies in Sioux Falls, 15 of them are a one man company. He said if there is a 24 hour requirement, there could potentially be 15 less taxis, leaving customers waiting longer.
Anderson said these proposed changes aren't about limiting the number of cab companies; it’s about making sure those who use them are safe.

 "We want to have taxi companies in Sioux Falls," said Anderson. "We want to have good services in Sioux Falls and we want to make sure they are operating in a safe manner in the city."

Anderson said at the next two Public Service meetings, public input will be welcome. Those meetings take place every second Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at Carnegie Hall.  

All of the proposed changes will be presented to the Sioux Falls City Council in January.

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