Chapter 4.155
TAXICABS

Sections:

4.155.010    Definitions.

4.155.020    Owner’s permit, operator’s license, criminal background screening, pre-employment drug/alcohol screening, and DMV screening required.

4.155.030    Application for owner’s permit.

4.155.040    Application for operator’s license.

4.155.050    Issuance of owner’s permit.

4.155.060    Liability insurance required.

4.155.070    Hold harmless.

4.155.080    Operation and maintenance.

4.155.110    Suspension or revocation of permit or license.

4.155.120    Operator’s license posting required.

4.155.130    Issuance of certificates to existing owners in the city.

4.155.140    Enforcement of chapter.

4.155.010 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms, phrases and words shall have the meanings hereinafter set forth:

For-Hire Vehicle. “For-hire” includes any compensation, fare, fee, rental, toll, charge, token, or any other consideration, whether paid or not.

“Operator” means any person who drives a taxicab.

“Operator’s license” means permission issued by the chief of police or his/her designee authorizing the holder thereof to drive a taxicab in the city.

“Owner” or “person” includes any natural person, partnership, corporation, firm or association engaged in the business of operating a passenger vehicle for hire; it also includes a receiver or trustees appointed by any court.

“Permit” means permission issued by the chief of police or his/her designee authorizing the holder thereof to conduct a taxicab business in the city.

“Permit holder” means such person, firm or corporation owning or controlling any taxicab and holding a permit.

“Taxicab” means a motor vehicle engaged in the business of carrying passengers for hire, regardless of if a passenger is present, not operated over a fixed route, the destination and route of which are under the control of the passenger or passengers being carried therein, and the charge for whose use is determined by a taximeter. This term does not include drive-yourself vehicles, hearses, ambulances, buses operated over fixed routes, or any vehicle which will accommodate more than eight individuals including the driver.

“Taximeter” includes any instrument or device approved for use by the California Department of Agriculture by which the charge for taxicab hire is mechanically and/or electronically calculated by initial charge, and thereafter by a charge for distance traveled, waiting time, or both, and upon which such charge is plainly registered by means of figures, including dollars and cents.

“Waiting time” means the time when a taxicab is not in motion or traveling below 16 miles per hour from the time of acceptance of a passenger or passengers to the time of discharge, but does not include any time that the taxicab is not in motion due to unnecessary stops initiated by the operator, including mechanical failures. (Ord. 845 § 1; Ord. 866 § 1; Ord. 893 § 1; Ord. 898 § 1; Ord. 954 § 1; Ord. 995 § 1; Ord. 1016 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1029 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1035 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1102 § 1 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 28-1)

4.155.020 Owner’s permit, operator’s license, criminal background screening, pre-employment drug/alcohol screening, and DMV screening required.

A. No person shall operate a taxicab or permit a taxicab to be operated as a vehicle for hire upon any street of the city unless there shall have been issued a permit to the owner thereof. All drivers hired or contracted to operate taxicabs shall obtain an operator’s license. All persons will have a valid operator’s license in their possession issued by the police department whenever operating a taxicab in the city of South Lake Tahoe. Whenever a taxicab is operated within the city limits for purposes other than for hire an out of service sign will be displayed on the vehicle. The driver of a taxicab operated within the city for the purpose of maintenance and displaying the required out of service sign is not required to possess a taxi operator’s license. Prior to obtaining an operator’s license, all operators must have passed a criminal background screening, a drug/alcohol screening test, and a Department of Motor Vehicles driving record check. Such permits and licenses shall be kept at all times in full force and effect; and no person shall engage in services permitted thereunder except in accordance with such terms, conditions, restrictions and limitations as may be set forth in said permit or license and in this chapter. All such permits and licenses shall be renewed annually.

B. Any taxicab business which seeks to routinely pick up or discharge passengers within the city, irrespective of its base location, must obtain a permit under this chapter. (Ord. 845 § 1; Ord. 866 § 1; Ord. 893 § 1; Ord. 898 § 1; Ord. 900 § 1; Ord. 954 § 1; Ord. 995 § 1; Ord. 1016 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1029 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1035 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1102 § 1 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 28-2)

4.155.030 Application for owner’s permit.

Any person desiring to obtain a permit to conduct a taxicab business shall make application for an owner’s permit to the chief of police or his/her designee, which application shall be verified under penalty of perjury and shall furnish the following information:

A. The name, age, business address, and residence of the applicant, if a natural person; if a corporation, its name, date and place of incorporation, address of its principal office, and the names of its principal officers together with their respective addresses; if a partnership, association or other unincorporated entity, the names of the partners or persons comprising the association or company, with the place of business and residence of each.

B. The verified financial statement of the applicant.

C. Past experience of applicant and such persons in the service proposed; name, address and past experience of the person to be in charge of the applicant’s business; whether a license, permit or certificate issued to applicant or any such persons, or to a transportation business in which the owner was a partner, director or officer has been denied, revoked, canceled or suspended by any public organization; and the circumstances thereof.

D. Such facts that the applicant believes tend to prove or support the granting of a permit.

E. A statement that each taxicab will be equipped with a taximeter, which will correctly compute, indicate and receipt for the amount charged, distance traveled and waiting time elapsed.

F. Copy of a business license from the city of South Lake Tahoe.

G. Copy of the indemnification agreement with the city of South Lake Tahoe.

H. Such further information as the chief of police or his/her designee may require.

I. The payment of all fees determined by the chief of police or his/her designee to be necessary to recover all costs with regard to processing and approving such applications and any annual permit renewals. (Ord. 845 § 1; Ord. 866 § 1; Ord. 893 § 1; Ord. 898 § 1; Ord. 954 § 1; Ord. 995 § 1; Ord. 1016 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1029 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1035 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1102 § 1 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 28-3)

4.155.040 Application for operator’s license.

Any person desiring to obtain a permit to drive a taxicab shall make application for an operator’s license to the taxicab business for which the driver will work. The application shall be verified under penalty of perjury and shall furnish the following information:

A. The full name, age, address, height, color of hair and eyes, date and place of birth.

B. Past work experience including places of previous employment for the five years preceding the date of the application.

C. Whether or not he/she has been convicted of any felony or a misdemeanor.

D. The applicant’s California or Nevada driver’s license number, together with a Department of Motor Vehicles report indicating the applicant’s driving record for the preceding year.

E. Provide results of a drug/alcohol screening completed within 30 days of the date of application. (Ord. 898 § 1; Ord. 900 § 1; Ord. 954 § 1; Ord. 995 § 1; Ord. 1016 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1029 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1035 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1102 § 1 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 28-3.1)

4.155.050 Issuance of owner’s permit.

A. Upon receipt of an application for a certificate containing all of the information set forth in the preceding section, the chief of police or his/her designee shall fix a time and place for a public hearing thereon, giving notice of such hearing to the applicant, to all persons to whom permits have theretofore been issued, and to the public by publication of a notice of the time and place of such hearing in a newspaper of general circulation printed and published in the city, which notice shall be published once at least 10 days before the time of hearing.

If the chief of police or his/her designee finds that the proposed applicant is fit, willing and able to perform such public transportation services and to conform to all of the provisions of this chapter, then the chief of police or his/her designee shall direct that a permit be issued stating the name and address of the applicant, the number of vehicles authorized, and the date of issuance, the term thereof, such conditions as the chief of police or his/her designee deems reasonable or necessary in order to ensure compliance with this chapter by the applicant, and the amount of the permit fee. No permit shall be issued for a term longer than 10 years and may be a lesser term.

B. The chief of police or his/her designee shall deny an application for taxicab owner’s permit if it determines:

1. The application fails to contain one or more matters set forth in SLTCC 4.155.030;

2. Any one or more matters set forth in the application is not true;

3. The name under which applicant will conduct business, or applicant’s proposed color scheme or other insignia will tend to confuse the identification of taxicabs which applicant proposes to operate with those operated by the existing holder of a certificate;

4. The applicant does not possess the financial or other capability to properly provide the proposed service.

C. An owner’s franchise permit will be renewed annually. An owner’s franchise permit will be renewed upon submission of the following:

1. Current business license issued by the city of South Lake Tahoe.

2. Current indemnification agreement.

3. Listing of all employees and subcontractors.

4. Current insurance policy.

D. The taxicab business shall deny an application for an operator’s license if it determines:

1. The application fails to contain one or more matters set forth in SLTCC 4.155.040.

2. Any one or more matters set forth in the application is not true.

3. The applicant has been convicted of any felony.

4. The applicant has been convicted of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude.

5. The applicant has been convicted of any crime involving driving under the influence of alcohol or any other controlled substance; any crime involving the sale, use of, or transportation of narcotics; any crime involving reckless driving; or any suspension of driver’s license, if any of these crimes were committed within 10 years preceding the date of application.

6. The applicant has been convicted of any offense requiring registration under either Section 290 of the Penal Code or Section 11590 of the Health and Safety Code.

7. The applicant has been convicted of a violation of Section 20001, 20002(a), 20002(b), 23103, 23152, 23153, 23220 or 23222 of the Vehicle Code, if any of these violations were committed within 10 years preceding the date of application.

8. The applicant has been convicted of any two or more moving violations of the Vehicle Code within one year preceding the date of the application.

9. The applicant has not reached the age of 21 years.

10. The applicant fails to pass the required drug-screening test. (Ord. 845 § 4; Ord. 866 § 1; Ord. 893 § 1; Ord. 898 § 1; Ord. 900 § 1; Ord. 954 § 1; Ord. 995 § 1; Ord. 1029 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1035 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1102 § 1 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 28-4)

4.155.060 Liability insurance required.

No permit shall be issued to operate or to continue in operation, and no person shall drive or cause or permit to be driven or operated, any taxicab in the city unless and until there is in full force and effect a comprehensive automobile public liability insurance policy or policies from a responsible and solvent corporation authorized to issue such policy under the laws of the state, insuring such owner and covering each such taxicab and each driver thereof, and unless and until such owner shall file with the police department a written certificate or certificates of such insurance, designating that such policy or policies are in full force and effect, designating therein that any and all taxicabs which may be driven or operated under a certificate granted to such owner are and will be covered under such policy or policies. Such policies shall insure the owner and any other person using or responsible for the use of any such taxicab against loss from the liability imposed on any of them by law for injury to, or the death of, any person or damage to property arising from or growing out of the maintenance, operation or ownership of any taxicab covered by the policy, with combined single limit/aggregate limit in the amount of $1,000,000 or more. (Ord. 845 § 5; Ord. 866 § 1; Ord. 893 § 1; Ord. 954 § 1; Ord. 995 § 1; Ord. 1029 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1035 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1102 § 1 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 28-5)

4.155.070 Hold harmless.

Permittee shall indemnify, defend and hold harmless the city, its elected and appointed boards, officers, employees, agents, volunteers, contractors, and invitees from any and all liability, for any and all claims, demands, actions, losses, damages, and injuries direct or indirect (including any and all costs and expenses in connection therewith), arising from permittee’s operations authorized herein, from and against each and every claim and demand of whatsoever nature made on behalf of or by any person, persons, firm, partnership, corporation or otherwise, including permittee’s employees. (Ord. 845 § 1; Ord. 866 § 1; Ord. 893 § 1; Ord. 954 § 1; Ord. 995 § 1; Ord. 1029 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1035 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1102 § 1 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 28-7)

4.155.080 Operation and maintenance.

A. Taximeters.

1. Required. Every taxicab shall have attached thereto and use a taximeter at all times a taxi is in service. No taxicab shall be operated unless the driver and permittee shall keep and maintain the taximeter accurate at all times.

2. Inspections. Every taximeter shall be subject to the inspection of any authorized city representative, upon proper identification, at all times. Any taximeter which is found, after such inspection, to be inaccurate to the prejudice of any passenger shall be immediately ordered out of service.

3. Mechanism. The taximeter shall be equipped with an efficient illuminating device arranged to enable the passengers to conveniently observe the taximeter and the figures registered thereon at all times while the taximeter is in an earning position. The taximeter shall register upon visual counters the following items:

a. The total miles;

b. The paid miles;

c. The number of units;

d. The number of trips; and

e. The number of extras.

4. Tampering Prohibited. No person shall willfully tamper with or in any way cause any taximeter to be inoperative or inaccurate.

B. Vehicles to Be Numbered. The permit contract to engage in the business of operating a vehicle for hire shall designate a separate number to be placed upon each vehicle to be operated by the permit.

The number so designated and the name of the permittee shall be placed uniformly on each taxicab in letters and figures clearly visible and in the color as set forth in the permit.

Each taxi shall also carry a readily visible sticker indicating it is currently permitted. Each taxicab or automobile licensed for operation shall be assigned a different number as set forth in the permit.

C. Soliciting Passengers – Misrepresentation. No taxicab or BlueGo Door to Door driver shall solicit passengers from any bus or transit stop, or in any other fashion. All services are to be available only upon telephone call, engagement when parked at a regular stand, or when hailed from the street, sidewalk or curb, and not otherwise.

D. Rate Schedule – Posting.

1. Interior of Taxicab. It shall be the duty of every driver and/or owner of any taxicab to keep continuously posted in view of the passenger and in readable form in the passenger’s compartment of each and every public motor vehicle a rate schedule of charges, which rate schedule shall be printed in at least 10-point bold type upon a card in size not less than four inches by five inches, and the name of the owner shall be in type not more than 10 characters per inch. It shall be unlawful for any driver or owner to charge in excess of the rates so posted.

2. Exterior of Taxicab. It shall be the duty of every driver and/or owner of any taxicab to ensure that the rate schedule of charges shall be affixed to the exterior of the taxicab on both the driver and passenger sides of the taxicab in full view of and legible to prospective passengers. Such rates shall be applied in a manner so as to be permanent in nature, through use of paint or decal materials, and shall be comprised of letters and numerals of not less than one and one-half inches in height per character.

E. Receipt. Every driver shall, upon request, give a correct receipt upon payment of the fare.

F. Exclusive Right to Use. When a taxicab is engaged, the applicant shall have the exclusive right to the full and complete use of the passenger compartment, and no driver shall solicit additional passengers therein, nor shall any driver carry any additional passengers, unless the person or persons originally engaging the taxicab shall consent thereto.

G. Refusal of Service. No driver shall refuse or neglect to convey any orderly person or persons upon request, unless previously engaged or unable or forbidden by the provisions of this chapter to do so.

H. Discharge of Passengers. No passenger shall be received or discharged in the roadway, but each driver shall pull his taxicab up to the right-hand curb as nearly as possible, except on one-way streets where passengers may be discharged at either the right- or left-hand side of the roadway.

I. Direct Route. Each driver employed to carry passengers to a definite point shall take the most direct route possible that will carry the passenger safely and expeditiously to such destination.

J. Obstructing Street Traffic. It shall be unlawful for any driver operating a taxicab to obstruct a street or other traffic in the course of receiving or discharging passengers.

K. Unsafe Equipment. No taxicab shall be driven for hire when any of the equipment used thereon or therewith shall be in a defective, unsafe, or unsanitary condition. The condition of every taxicab shall at all times be subject to the inspection of any authorized representative of the city. All of the above provisions shall be applicable to permit holders as well as drivers, and it shall be unlawful for any person to violate any of the provisions of subsections (A) through (K) of this section. Knowing or repeated violation of any of the above provisions by a driver or permittee shall be grounds for suspension or revocation of the permit.

L. Upon termination of employment the driver shall return the operator’s license to the owner of the taxicab business. The owner of the taxicab business shall thereafter hold the terminated operator’s license on behalf of the city.

M. City’s Right to Audit. The city of South Lake Tahoe retains the right to audit the books of permittee at all reasonable times, and prescribe reasonable rules and regulations concerning the method of keeping such records by permittee.

N. Administrative Policies/Procedures. The chief of police shall be authorized to establish and carry out such administrative policies and procedures that, in his or her reasonable discretion, may be necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the traveling public in their utilization of taxicab services. (Ord. 845 § 1; Ord. 866 § 1; Ord. 893 § 1; Ord. 900 § 1; Ord. 954 § 1; Ord. 995 § 1; Ord. 1029 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1035 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1102 § 1 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 28-8)

4.155.110 Suspension or revocation of permit or license.

A. Grounds for Revocation, Suspension, Fine. The permit or license issued to any person to engage in taxicab service under this chapter may be permanently revoked or temporarily suspended by the chief of police or his/her designee in accordance with such provisions of this chapter and rules and regulations of the chief of police or his/her designee upon any of the following grounds:

1. Failure to provide such taxicab services as are required in accordance with the permit and license issued therefor.

2. The occurrence of any act or omission which operates to deprive the holder of a permit or license of the authorization necessary for the lawful and proper conduct and operation of the service authorized, including any disqualifying act set forth in SLTCC 4.155.050.

3. Failure or refusal of the holder of a permit or license to perform any act required to be performed by it under the provisions of this chapter; or such person’s performing, or allowing or permitting to be performed, any act which it is hereunder prohibited from doing.

4. The violation of any of the provisions, terms, conditions, restrictions, and limitations of the permit or license issued to the holder, or any of the agreements executed pursuant thereto.

5. The violation of any order, decision, rule, regulation, direction, demand or requirement made or established pursuant to this chapter.

6. The conviction of the holder of a permit or license of any felony or misdemeanor described in SLTCC 4.155.020.

7. Failure to pay any fee, penalty or fine imposed on said holder under this chapter, within the time required thereby, or by the order of the chief of police or his/her designee.

8. Upon the voluntary written request of the holder of a permit to suspend such certificate for a definite period of time.

9. Failure to take or pass an annual drug-screening test, or a drug-screening test upon request following an accident.

An owner’s permit may be revoked or suspended upon the following additional grounds:

10. Cancellation or suspension of a required policy of insurance or surety bond.

11. Failure to pay, within 30 days after it has become final, any judgment against the owner of a permit for personal injury or death or property damage arising out of the operation of such vehicle allowed to operate hereunder.

In addition to such revocation or suspension, or as an alternative thereto (except on the grounds set forth in subsection (A)(8) of this section), the chief of police or his/her designee may impose upon the holder of such certificate a monetary administrative penalty for each day that the act or omission which constitutes such ground for revocation, suspension and/or fine continues. Any such penalty shall not exceed $5,000.

B. Regular Hearings – Immediate Hazards. Except as otherwise required under this section, a permit to engage in taxicab service shall be revoked or suspended only after reasonable notice and an opportunity to be heard has been given. In the event of an immediate hazard to life, limb, health, safety, property or general welfare, the chief of police or his/her designee, upon good cause shown, may issue an order requiring the holder of a permit immediately to cease and desist from engaging in all or any portion of the taxicab service which constitutes such hazard, and further ordering that such party show cause why the permit should not be suspended or revoked.

The order shall specify the time, date and place of hearing thereon and the period during which the order will be effective. Such period may be extended from time to time as reasonably required to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

Upon service of and during such time as there is in force and effect an order requiring the holder of a permit to cease and desist from all or a portion of the service described in such order, no holder of a permit shall fail or refuse to comply with the provisions of such order, or with such order as modified during the pendency of hearing thereon.

C. Conduct of Hearing. Upon such hearing, the holder of a permit shall have the right to be personally present and/or through counsel or other representatives to introduce oral and documentary evidence, to examine and re-examine witnesses, and to be heard in support of his respective positions. Within 15 days after closing a hearing, the chief of police or his/her designee shall render a written decision thereon, specifying findings therefor. The permit holder may appeal such decision pursuant to Chapter 2.35 SLTCC. (Ord. 845 § 11; Ord. 866 § 1; Ord. 893 § 1; Ord. 898 § 1; Ord. 954 § 1; Ord. 995 § 1; Ord. 1016 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1029 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1035 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1102 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1105 § 1 (Exh. B). Code 1997 § 28-11)

4.155.120 Operator’s license posting required.

Every person operating a taxicab under a permit issued pursuant to this chapter shall obtain from the taxicab business an operator’s license, which shall contain the driver’s name, driver’s license number of the operator, the name of the company holding the permit and a photograph of the operator. Such operator’s license shall be posted in a place in the cab visible to the passenger and remain posted at all times that driver is operating the vehicle. (Ord. 845 § 12; Ord. 850 § 1; Ord. 863 § 12; Ord. 866 § 1; Ord. 893 § 1; Ord. 898 § 1; Ord. 954 § 1; Ord. 995 § 1; Ord. 1016 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1029 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1035 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1102 § 1 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 28-12)

4.155.130 Issuance of certificates to existing owners in the city.

Every owner of taxicabs certified by the police department to be lawfully operating prior to the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter shall file an application for a permit as provided herein within 30 days after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter. A permit shall immediately issue without the necessity of a public hearing; provided, however, such owner has complied with the remaining provisions of the ordinance codified in this chapter and shall pay the applicable permit, business and professions tax, and other fees. No such permit shall be sold, transferred or alienated during its term. All such permits shall be renewed annually to ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter. All permits require a fee equal to the cost of processing established in accordance with SLTCC 4.155.030(I). (Ord. 845 § 13; Ord. 866 § 1; Ord. 893 § 1; Ord. 954 § 1; Ord. 995 § 1; Ord. 1029 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1035 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1102 § 1 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 28-13)

4.155.140 Enforcement of chapter.

The chief of police or his/her designee is hereby authorized and directed to establish such rules and regulations as may from time to time be required to carry out the purpose and intent of this chapter. When established, such rules and regulations shall have the same legal force and effect as the provisions of this chapter, including the penalties for violation thereof.

Any person who knowingly or intentionally misrepresents to any officer or employee of the city any material fact in applying for an owner’s permit or operator’s license under this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. The ownership of any taxi company allowing the operation of any taxicab or operating any taxicab upon the streets of this city in violation of this chapter shall be deemed to constitute a misdemeanor, and further, shall be deemed to be a public nuisance, and may be, by this city, summarily abated as such, including, without limitation, the right to confiscate and impound any such vehicle until such time as any and all such violations have been otherwise abated. Any taxicab which is operated by a driver without a current owner’s permit or operator’s license will be towed and impounded, and the following fines will be assessed:

First offense – $250.00;

Second offense within one year – $500.00;

Third offense within one year – $1,000.

Except as otherwise set forth above, violation of this chapter shall be an infraction, punishable as provided by law. The city attorney and district attorney are additionally authorized to pursue any and all other remedies available in law or equity for violations of this chapter. (Ord. 845 § 1; Ord. 866 § 1; Ord. 893 § 1; Ord. 898 § 1; Ord. 954 § 1; Ord. 995 § 1; Ord. 1029 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1035 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 1102 § 1 (Exh. A). Code 1997 § 28-14)