Biloxi Has New Rules for Cabs, Limos

Posted on August 4, 2004 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

BILOXI, Miss. – Taxi companies and limousine services are scrambling to meet new city of Biloxi requirements – and also some old ones – for licensing. The city recently passed new regulations for cars for hire and stepped up enforcement of older ones, including annual yearly inspections and a requirement that all cabs belonging to the same company be the same color and have the same graphics.

Last week, a Biloxi police officer went to Beau Rivage, a popular spot for taxis and limousines, and began taking pictures of vehicles that didn't have inspection stickers.

Cabs and limousines have been packing the city's garage ever since, trying to pass inspection so they can still operate.

During an inspection, the city makes sure the meter is working properly and also checks for safety hazards.

"The first thing a person sees when they visit the city is the cabdriver," said Councilman George Lawrence. "We didn't want someone coming here from Indiana and taking a cab from the airport to Biloxi and the fare is $195."

The city passed a series of recent ordinances, including increasing the base fare from $1.50 to $2, clarifying insurance requirements and defining the difference between a taxi and a limousine. The new regulations take effect Aug. 6.

"We want the safe operation of cabs in this city for the taxpayers and the tourists," said Police Chief Bruce Dunnagan.

Livery Cab & Sedan, in a written statement, said tourists and people who depend on cabs to navigate the city, including the elderly and Keesler Air Force military staff, may have to wait longer to get a cab in coming weeks.

"Although we feel like it is troublesome and costly, we are complying with the city of Biloxi's decision," the statement said.

Earl Craft, director of operations for Gulf Coast Checker Cab, said it was time for the city to enforce its rules.

"The city is finally enforcing their own regulations, so it's creating havoc for those who were not running by the letter of the law," Craft said. "There are some organizations that have never received a certificate of insurance."

When the new regulations take effect, there will be more problems, Craft said. He said Biloxi, Gulfport and the Biloxi-Gulfport International Airport have separate rules and regulations for cabs.

For example, he said Gulfport does not require cabs of the same company to be of the same color, nor does it require annual inspections.

"We're in a situation now where Gulfport has not followed suit with Biloxi and now we're going to have an increase in fare in Biloxi but not in Gulfport," Craft said. "The truth is, there needs to be a single entity to set down rules. In New Orleans, there is just one board."

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