MOBILE, ALA. – Mobile City Councilman Clinton Johnson said he's concerned about proposed regulations that dictate a driver's appearance when it comes to vehicles-for-hire.
New regulations for taxi, limousine and shuttle services state: "Hair, beards and/or mustaches shall be neat, trimmed and present a groomed appearance."
Johnson complained that the requirements are "far too subjective," thus open for the possibility of discrimination.
He made the comment at a recent public hearing on proposed regulation changes. No vote has been scheduled, and the proposal now will go to the Public Safety Committee for review. No date has been set for that meeting.
The proposed increase in regulations – covering issues from how much a customer can be charged to the cleanliness of the vehicle – is an effort to upgrade outdated city codes while ensuring vehicle safety and consumer protection, according to the city.
A few taxi drivers complained at Tuesday's public hearing of companies operating illegally in the city.
One of the main proposed changes in the regulations deals with shuttle services, said Mobile Police Sgt. John Goodwin, who is overseeing the effort. The current city code does not address the operation of shuttle vans, Goodwin said. As a result, there currently is no cap on what a shuttle service can charge customers.
The proposed regulations put the cap at $45 an hour, Goodwin said. The exception would be airport shuttles, which would cost no more than $15 per person. Limousine services would be capped at $75 an hour under the proposal.