COLONIE — The Town Board voted to table a resolution that would essentially follow other municipalities in an effort to bring uniform regulations to taxicabs.
Town Board member Jennifer Whalen called the measure a “huge unfunded state mandate” because town employees would have to monitor the cabs and enforce the new regulations – which would further tax the workforce and may increase taxes.
“I don’t know why we are picking on the cab companies when they already have Uber and Lyft and that market force will force them to adjust the way they do business,” she said while urging the board to table the resolution. “They should have a taxicab authority in New York state and they should fund it.”
Town Attorney Mike Magguilli said the resolution is at the request of the town’s state representatives and would allow the Capital District Transportation Authority to enforce state regulations for cabs operating in town.
Saratoga, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady, Albany and Troy are all on board with the move that would regulate nearly every aspect of how cab companies do business – from how they get the medallions necessary to operate to how clean the drivers and companies have to keep the cabs.
“The concern is that people who come into the area and the first thing they see is a taxi which are at times in deplorable condition,” Magguilli said. “What this does is provide minimum standards for taxis and the drivers.
He said Colonie is important to the consortium because of the airport, and the number of taxicabs that make runs to and from it on a daily basis.
He said, if approved, the town would only be responsible for enforcing the regulations on taxis licensed by the town. All others are governed by CDTA. He did concede, though, that the town could have to hold hearings if cabs violate the regulations.
Those regulations include how drivers obtain a license, with consideration given to their criminal and mental health background, how much insurance they need to carry and the municipality will hold the right to inspect the cabs, which shall not be any older than seven years.
“The driver shall be clean and neat in dress and person, physically and mentally fit to operate a taxicab and free from the use of intoxicating substances,” reads the resolution. “The driver shall keep the inside of his/her taxicab in a clean and sanitary condition … and the driver shall keep the inside of his/her taxicab free from smoke, and no one riding in the vehicle shall engage in smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, e-cigarettes or any other smoking paraphernalia.”
Whalen convinced the board to table the resolution until the financial impact of enforcing the regulations is determined and the board can hear from a cab company representative.