CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A new public car ordinance will begin June 1 in Charleston, but City leaders are giving a sneak preview Wednesday of what they're calling a complete overhaul for taxi cabs services, limo rides and other transportation services like Uber.
The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the City of Charleston's Visitor Center.
Some of the changes include steeper price tags for rides on the peninsula, new pick-up locations and mandated licenses for TND (transportation network drivers).
The 19-page ordinance lays out the all specifics, from vehicle registration to taxi stands.
This measure is coming to light due to the influx of Uber drivers in the area, officials say. Uber arrived in the city about three years ago and has been making an impact not only on cab companies, but also the city's view of public safety.
The ordinance was passed in City Council at the end of April.
Some of the major changes in the ordinance are highlighted below:
Chauffeur's License – 31-76 – All vehicle for hire operators must have a chauffeur's license issued by the city or a driver's endorsement from the employing agency of the driver. If a driver is licensed through their employer, they are required to show a valid driver's endorsement (hard copy or electronic) upon request. This document shall have the driver's photograph, driver's name, company name endorsing or employing the driver, and the expiration date of the endorsement.
Business License – 17-16 – Every individual driver of a vehicle for hire is required to have a City of Charleston Business License (in their possession) if they are picking up in the city.
Liability Insurance Required – 31-101 – Each vehicle for hire must have the state mandated minimum coverage of liability insurance. The driver is required to provide this information to an officer upon request during any lawful contact.
Vehicle Registration – 31-114 – All vehicles used for hire to transport passengers must be registered with the city. All registered vehicles for hire are issued a city sticker that is required to be displayed on the rear window of said vehicles. This applies to all taxicabs, limos and TNC vehicles that are picking up in the city.
Proof of Registration – 31-115 – All vehicles registered with the revenue collection department shall display on their rear window a certificate of operation sticker by the city's revenue collection department.
Trade Dress – 31-130 – Vehicles for hire (that do not have TX or LS tags) in city must be distinctly signed or marked as to notate that they are in fact a vehicle for hire. Signage must be visible from 50 feet away in the daytime and reflective or illuminated as to be visible at night.
Metered Rates and Fares – 31-172 – The flat rate fare is $7.00 for taxi fares that begin and end on the peninsula. One dollar can be added to the fare for each additional passenger as well as a fuel surcharge when gas prices are high. Fares that begin in the city and travel off the peninsula must be charged at the metered rate. A surge charge is also in affect that allows taxicabs to double their metered rate or flat fare rate from the hours of midnight to 5:00 a.m.
Increases to the taxi metered rates were also added and can be found in the ordinance. Limo and TNC are prearranged services so the customers agree to the fare amount prior to entering the vehicle.
Fares Posted - 31-173 – Taxi cabs that are picking up fares in the city must have their fares posted on each rear door or quarter panel of the vehicle.
Taxi Stands – 31-212 – Taxis, Limos, and TNC are prohibited from picking up patrons on King Street proper between Spring Street and Calhoun Street during the hours of 12:30 AM to 3:00 AM on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Taxis must use the provided taxi stands while Limos and TNC's must pick up on side streets or private lots.
The same provisions are in place and apply for vehicles for hire picking up in the Market Street area during the same days and hours.