For Immediate Release
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
NEW TAXI REGULATIONS IN EFFECT
A new order authored by Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta will significantly impact the quality of service provided by taxicab companies throughout Louisiana in the new year.
The order, passed unanimously at the LPSC’s Dec. 14 meeting, imposes new standards and registration regulations on cab and limousine companies and drivers, all designed to improve passengers’ experience and safety. Among the new regulations is a rule requiring each taxi driver to be registered with the LPSC; the previous order only required the cab company itself to have an LPSC registration number. The order also restates the existing requirement that each driver have his or her identification, license and proof of insurance prominently displayed in his or her cab.
“Prior to this order going into effect, a consumer might call a cab company or local regulating authority to complain about a cab driver’s conduct or operation of the vehicle, but be unable to identify the specific driver,” Skrmetta said. “With the new regulations in place, each driver will have an individual registration number, attached as a decimal behind the company’s identifier. This also provides a database of all cab drivers, which will be accessible to the public and will help law enforcement when necessary.”
Additionally, the new order requires all cabs to accept credit or debit card payments. Previously, cab companies could insist on cash-only payment, which often inconvenienced passengers or required them to either find an ATM or have the cab driver transport them to a cash machine and wait while the passenger withdrew money, resulting in a higher fare.
“In an increasingly cash-less culture, having the ability to pay a far with a credit or debit card will be a tremendous option to passengers,” Skrmetta said. “Drivers will also be required to provide printed receipts, making record-keeping easier for all parties.”
The order also regulates driver conduct, including a prohibition on cell phone use – including hands-free devices – while transporting passengers. At least one vehicle in every 20 must be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). All taxis will be required to have working seatbelts for all passengers and, beginning in 2013, no taxi may be more than seven years old.
“These new regulations will positively impact the safety and experience of passengers and cab drivers alike,” Skrmetta said. “At a public hearing held before final passage of this order, the cab company operators present all expressed support for these steps.”
The order also delineates penalties for non-compliance, and establishes a Passenger Bill of Rights. The LPSC has the authority to regulate any cab company that operates in a radius of more than 10 miles.
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