A priority piece of Calexico’s Downtown Action Plan, a new taxicab ordinance, was scheduled to be considered for preliminary approval by the city council at its Sept. 4 meeting.
The goal was to regulate the industry, relocate all taxi stands downtown, and punish both operators and users of illegal taxi services known as “raiteros,” according to information in the proposed ordinance provided by the city manager’s office.
The taxi stands would be moved from Rockwood Avenue between First and Second streets to First Street between Heffernan and Paulin avenues.
The meeting occurred after this newspaper’s deadline.
The ordinance as proposed would create a series of licenses and permits to run a taxi service in the city. The moves would range from requiring an overall operating certificate for each cab company to a series of individual permits and certifications for each cab and driver. In addition, a company could be fined $1,000 for failure to obtain or maintain those permits and certificates.
There also would be a $1,000 fine for operating an illegal taxi service.
In addition, those caught using illegal taxis could be fined $100-$500 depending on the number of violations in a year.
The ordinance would place most of the approvals and ordinance oversight in the hands of the police department.
Although the city already has two taxi ordinances in place --- one adopted in 2003 and another in 2009 --- in October 2017, then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1069, which required cities to add more stringent regulations commencing in January 2019, according to information from the city.
The law requires cities “provide for a policy for entry into the business of providing taxicab transportation service, the establishment or registration of rates for the provision of taxicab transportation service, and a mandatory controlled substance and alcohol testing and certification program for drivers.”
The law requires the development of a system for the “issuance of inspection stickers or other inspection compliance devices to compliant taxicab companies and the issuance of photo permits to compliant taxi drivers.”
Under the proposed ordinance, each cab company would be required to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. Under it, a company must obtain and maintain a taxicab permit and vehicle certification for each cab the company operates, as well as a taxicab driver’s license, according to the proposed ordinance.