Cabbie ticketed for violating new ordinance gets ticket tossed out

Published: Aug. 26, 2013 at 8:37 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 27, 2013 at 12:40 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A cab driver cited for violating the City of Charleston's new taxi stand ordinance got his ticket dismissed Monday by a municipal judge.

Charleston Cab Company Owner Jim Jones argued in court on behalf of the driver, who received the citation just hours after the ordinance went into effect.

Under the ordinance, three taxi stands were set up along Market Street.

Between 12:30 and 3 AM Friday through Sunday, those are the only places people can catch a cab around the Market Street area.

Jones' employee picked up his passengers in front of a bar and not at one of the designated taxi stands.

"When my driver stopped and picked up the people, the officer wrote him a ticket under his interpretation of the law, which was anybody picking up on north market must originate out of a cab stand," said Jones. "He picked up a fare that called us and made an appointment."

Jones believes the idea of the ordinance is to prevent folks from flagging down cabs in crowded areas and does not apply to drivers who are picking up pre arranged fares.

The judge wanted Jones to prove the passengers were picked up after a dispatch call, but the cab company owner said they do it through text messages.

The text messages were not saved.

"The judge did say to us we need to keep our text messages, so the driver can prove to the officer that he received a dispatch call," said Jones.

The ticket was dismissed and the cabbie avoided having to pay a $262 fine.

"That was my objective. I'm glad it worked out that way."

Charleston Police spokesman Charles Francis says the officer was correct to ticket the cab driver.

Francis says under the ordinance there are no exceptions and all fares have to be picked up at one of the taxi stands.

Francis also pointed out cabbies were given 30 days to learn about the ordinance before it went into effect.

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