City Council reviewed its regulations governing taxi service and looks to be sticking with the status quo.
At a work session Monday night, city council reviewed Ann Arbor’s taxi ordinance, which requires the city to do mechanical inspections, review driving records and more. Ann Arbor also regulates fares and collects fees for licensing.
Joining the discussion was Mark Neumann, a Saline resident who owns Stadium Taxi, which has operates two taxis and a limo.
Once discussion began, council had little appetite for adopting an ordinance like Ann Arbor’s.
“I don’t think we should enact any ordinance unless we are able to enforce it, and I don’t see how we could do that,” said Council member David Rhoads. “Are there any complaints of inappropriate taxi service in the city?”
Rhoads said he didn’t think city staff and police department employees should add mechanical inspections and bonding to their job descriptions.
Council member Jim Roth asked Interim Police Chief Mike Lindman if he thought it would be hard for police to keep some cab companies out if others were licensed with the city.
“I can see it being a nightmare to be honest with you,” Lindman said. “Would we be cabs to investigate? Would we rely on witnesses to call and make reports?”
Council member Brian Marl said he was opposed to the idea of having the city set fares for taxi companies.
“That seems wildly inappropriate to me. What works in Ann Arbor is great for Ann Arbor, but that is not something I would want to emulate in Saline,” Marl said. “I want an ordinance as simple as possible—not as burdensome as what our neighbors do, which is ultimately burdensome to both the city and the taxi company.”
Neumann told council the city can raise revenue licensing cabs. He said that if Saline licensed his cabs other Washtenaw taxi companies would come to Saline and pay to be licensed. According to Neumann, Ann Arbor charges $52 to license a cab and Ypsilanti charges $100.
Roth said he wants to see taxi service in Saline—especially to service those drinking alcohol at local establishments.
The city has a taxi ordinance on the books. The ordinance allows taxis to operate in Saline as long as another government licenses them. This text was reassuring for members of council leery of spending the effort to regulate cabs. However, another section of the ordinance says that no taxi operator shall charge more than the rate approved by council. Council hasn’t done that.