CHAPTER 117
Taxicabs

Section

117.01    Purpose

117.02    Definitions

117.03    Taxicab company certificate required; exemptions

117.04    Taxicab company certificate applications; issuance

117.05    Annual taxicab company certificate; renewal

117.06    Minimum standards for taxicab companies

117.07    Equipment

117.08    Insurance and indemnification

117.09    Approval of drivers

117.10    Operating regulations of taxicab companies and drivers

117.11    Cancellation, suspension, revocation, or appeal of certificate or permit

117.12    Rates

117.13    Complaints

117.14    Violation; penalty

117.01 PURPOSE.

It is the purpose of this chapter to require that those persons operating taxicabs do so in a safe, fair and efficient manner. The taxicab industry constitutes an essential part of the city’s transportation system, and transportation so fundamentally affects the well-being of the city’s citizens that some regulation is necessary to ensure that the public safety is protected, the public need provided for, and the public convenience promoted. The provisions contained herein should be applied and enforced in such a manner as to require the taxicab industry to regulate itself, under city supervision, to promote innovation and adaption to changing needs, and respond to economics of the marketplace, so long as the public interest is served thereby.

(Ord. 2230, passed 5-11-15)

117.02 DEFINITIONS.

(A)    CERTIFICATE OR PERMIT. A current certificate or permit issued under this chapter to operate a taxicab company.

(B)    CITY MANAGER. The City of Hermiston City Manager or his/her designee authorized to perform the duties of this chapter by the City Manager.

(C)    POLICE CHIEF. The person holding the position of Chief of Police of the Hermiston Police Department, or any agent, employee, or designee authorized to perform the duties of this chapter by the Police Chief.

(D)    DRIVER. Any person who operates taxicabs as a driver for any permitted taxicab company, regardless of whether the vehicles operated are owned by the company, leased, or owned by individual members of the company.

(E)    OPERATE. To drive a taxicab, to use a taxicab in the conduct of business, to receive money from the use of a taxicab, or cause or allow another person to do the same.

(F)    PERSON. Any individual, partnership, trust, estate, corporation, or other form of business organization recognized by Oregon law.

(G)    TAXICAB. Any motor vehicle which carries passengers for hire when the journey originates in the city and where the destination and route may be controlled by a passenger and the fare is calculated on the basis of any combination of an initial fee, distance traveled, waiting time, or a flat fee. Any vehicle which has an appearance deceptively similar to a taxicab is a taxicab for the purposes of this chapter.

(H)    TAXICAB COMPANY. Any person that operates taxicabs that either has a place of business within the city limits or conducts taxicab business within the city limits that is authorized by the city as a taxicab company under this chapter.

(I)    TAXIMETER. A mechanical or electronic device which calculates and displays a fare based on an initial fee, distance traveled, waiting time, or any combination thereof.

(Ord. 2230, passed 5-11-15)

117.03 TAXICAB COMPANY CERTIFICATE REQUIRED; EXEMPTIONS.

(A)    No person shall operate any taxicab in the City of Hermiston without possessing, in addition to any license required by any other law, a valid taxicab company certificate issued pursuant to this chapter. A certificate may not be sold, assigned, mortgaged or otherwise transferred.

(B)    Exemptions to certificate requirement.

(1)    Public transportation provided and funded in whole or in part by public organizations shall be exempt from the permit requirements of this chapter.

(2)    Services provided for the exclusive purpose of providing transportation to and from medical facilities.

(3)    Courtesy shuttles provided by hotels, motels, and residential care facilities as a convenience for registered guests or residents, where no additional charges apply.

(Ord. 2230, passed 5-11-15)

117.04 TAXICAB COMPANY CERTIFICATE APPLICATIONS; ISSUANCE.

(A)    Application. An application for a taxicab company certificate shall be submitted to the City Manager, and the application must be signed under penalty of perjury. The application documents must contain the following:

(1)    The name, business address and residence address of the applicant.

(2)    The make, type, year of manufacture, VIN number, and seating capacity of each vehicle that will be operated as a taxicab under the taxicab company certificate.

(3)    A description of the proposed color scheme, insignia, trademark, or any other distinguished characteristics of the proposed vehicle design.

(4)    A list from the applicant of any violation, misdemeanor, or felony convictions, the nature of the offense, and the punishment or penalty assessed for the owner(s) and/or any officers of the taxicab company.

(5)    Proof of insurance in the manner and form required by this chapter from a responsible, solvent insurance carrier authorized to issue public liability and property damage insurance in the state of Oregon.

(6)    A receipt issued by the city showing payment of the nonrefundable application fee. The fee is to be set by resolution of the City Council.

(7)    Before any taxicab company application is acted upon by the City Manager, the Police Chief is to make an investigation within 60 days from the date the application is filed. Upon completion of such investigation the Police Chief is to report his findings, in writing, to the City Manager.

(B)    Issuance of certificate. The City Manager will issue a certificate to operate a taxicab upon finding that the applicant has met the requirements of this chapter.

(Ord. 2230, passed 5-11-15)

117.05 ANNUAL TAXICAB COMPANY CERTIFICATE; RENEWAL.

Taxicab company certificates may be renewed upon submission of a new taxicab company certificate application.

(Ord. 2230, passed 5-11-15)

117.06 MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR TAXICAB COMPANIES.

Any taxicab company operating under a certificate issued pursuant to this chapter shall comply with the following minimum standards:

(A)    A dispatch system in operation 18 hours each day capable of providing reasonably prompt service in response to requests received.

(B)    Facilities and personnel sufficient to ensure that every taxicab operated by the taxicab company complies with the requirements of this chapter.

(C)    Insurance policies in force sufficient to meet the requirements of this chapter and to protect the taxicab company to the same limits of liability.

(Ord. 2230, passed 5-11-15)

117.07 EQUIPMENT.

Every taxicab is to be equipped with the following:

(A)    Except for taxicabs charging flat rates, a taximeter in accurate operating condition with a lighted face which can be read at all times by the customer.

(B)    Taxicabs charging flat rates must be equipped with a sign complying with § 117.12 that states "Flat Rate" in a conspicuous location visible to the customer inside the taxicab.

(C)    Exterior markings or equipment identifying the vehicle as a taxicab.

(D)    The company name and telephone number where service can be requested displayed on the exterior of the taxicab.

(E)    A current copy of the taxicab company certificate with the approved vehicle’s vehicle identification number (VIN) displayed within the vehicle where it is visible to the customer.

(F)    A notice providing information necessary to file a complaint as required by § 117.13.

(G)    All safety equipment required by federal law, state law, or this chapter.

(Ord. 2230, passed 5-11-15)

117.08 INSURANCE AND INDEMNIFICATION.

(A)    No person shall operate any vehicle as a taxicab unless that vehicle is covered by commercial liability insurance providing coverage of not less than the limit on liability of local public bodies for personal injury and death as established by the Oregon Tort Claims Act. Liability coverage shall be provided on an "occurrence" not "claims" basis. A certificate of insurance coverage, evidencing insurance coverage in compliance with this section, shall be filed with the City Manager. The City of Hermiston, its officers, employees, and agents shall be named as additional insureds.

(1)    The limits of insurance coverage required for taxicab companies under this section shall be subject to any changes regarding the minimum limits of liability insurance of local public bodies for personal injury and death as established by the Oregon Tort Claims Act.

(2)    Insurance policies for all vehicles operating as taxicabs shall contain a provision that the policy will not be reduced in coverage or canceled without 30 days prior written notice to the City Manager.

(3)    Failure to maintain adequate insurance as required under this section shall be cause for immediate suspension or revocation of a taxicab company certificate.

(B)    All taxicab companies and drivers that receive a certificate or a permit shall, to the extent permitted by law, agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless the city, its officers and employees from and against any and all damages, losses and expenses, including reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of suit or defense, arising out of, resulting from or alleged to arise out of or result from any claims for damages to property, or injury to persons, which may occur in connection with the operation of a taxicab company or a taxicab under the terms of the certificate or permit.

(Ord. 2230, passed 5-11-15)

117.09 APPROVAL OF DRIVERS.

It is unlawful for any person to operate a taxicab in the City of Hermiston without a taxicab driver permit issued by the Police Department in accordance with the terms of this chapter.

(A)    Application for a taxicab driver permit is to be made to the Police Chief, on a form provided by the city, accompanied by the fee established by resolution of the City Council. The applicant must attach a certified copy of the applicant’s department of motor vehicle records and a copy of the applicant’s driver’s license.

(B)    When the Police Chief receives the application, he/she shall make such investigation of the applicant’s background as necessary to verify that each taxicab driver issued a permit:

(1)    Is 21 years of age or older;

(2)    Within the last ten years, has not been convicted of any crimes involving moral turpitude or dishonesty except there is no time limit for any convictions involving sex crimes as defined by ORS 801.105, theft in the first degree, fraudulent use of a credit card, identity theft or any crime classified as a person felony as that term is defined in the rules of the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission unless the conviction has been set aside pursuant to ORS 137.225 or another state’s similar proceeding;

(3)    Possesses a valid Oregon driver’s license;

(4)    Has not had his or her driver’s license revoked by any state within the last five years; and

(5)    Did not make any false statements in the application.

(C)    If the Police Chief determines that the applicant meets the requirements of this section, the Police Chief may issue the permit. The permit expires one year from the date of issuance and may be renewed from year to year by filing a renewal application with the Police Department. The fee for a renewal permit shall be set by resolution of the City Council. Failure to renew a license before expiration of the current taxicab driver permit shall result in late fees.

(D)    Denial of permit. No permit shall be issued or renewed to any person if the city determines, after a review of a person’s traffic or criminal record, and any other information the city deems pertinent, that the public health, welfare, and safety would not be served by the issuance or renewal of a permit to that person. If the application is denied, the applicant may, within seven days of notification of the denial by the city, appeal the matter in writing to the City Council.

(Ord. 2230, passed 5-11-15; Am. Ord. 2231, passed 8-10-15)

117.10 OPERATING REGULATIONS OF TAXICAB COMPANIES AND DRIVERS.

(A)    Taxicab companies. A taxicab company shall not:

(1)    Allow persons to operate taxicabs who do not have a valid Oregon driver’s license, or who have had their driving privileges suspended any time within the past 12 months.

(B)    Taxicab drivers. A taxicab driver shall not:

(1)    Transport a passenger to his or her destination by any other than the most direct and safe route, unless requested to do so by the passenger;

(2)    Fail to give a correct receipt upon payment of the correct fare if requested to do so by the passenger;

(3)    Permit additional persons to occupy or ride in the taxicab without consent of the original passenger;

(4)    Refuse to transport to his requested destination any passenger of proper demeanor who requests services or is assigned by a taxicab service company when the taxicab is not already in service, and who is able to demonstrate the ability and willingness to pay the fare;

(5)    Charge a fare higher than the posted rates, or try to defraud a passenger in any way by manipulating devices to cause a registration to be made of a greater distance or more time.

(Ord. 2230, passed 5-11-15)

117.11 CANCELLATION, SUSPENSION, REVOCATION, OR APPEAL OF CERTIFICATE OR PERMIT.

(A)    Any taxicab company certificate may be suspended or revoked by the City Manager if the City Manager finds after a reasonable investigation verifying that any one or more of the following conditions exists:

(1)    A taxicab company, or any of the company’s owners, employees, or agents, has violated any of the provisions of this chapter or any other ordinance of the City of Hermiston, or any of the laws of the state of Oregon.

(2)    The taxicab company ceases to operate any taxicab for a period of 15 consecutive days without obtaining permission for the cessation of such operation from the city.

(3)    The taxicab company fails to pay any of the fees or payments required to be paid by the provisions of this chapter.

(4)    The suspension or revocation is necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare generally, or the safety of the taxicab-riding public in particular.

(B)    Any suspension or revocation pursuant to this section shall be in writing, setting forth the reasons therefor and the right to appeal the decision to the City Council.

(C)    Except as provided below, any suspension or revocation shall be effective at least ten days after mailing a copy thereof by first class United States mail addressed to the taxicab company and/or taxicab driver at the business or residence address shown on the permit application or renewal.

(D)    Notwithstanding subsection (B) of this section, a suspension or revocation may be made effective immediately if the city finds reasonable grounds to believe that:

(1)    A person holding a taxicab driver’s permit is not covered by liability insurance as required by this chapter;

(2)    A vehicle being operated as a taxicab is not covered by liability insurance required by this chapter; or

(3)    Continued operation by the taxicab company or taxicab driver would cause, or is likely to cause, imminent danger to the public health, safety, or welfare.

(Ord. 2230, passed 5-11-15)

117.12 RATES.

A flat fare remains constant regardless of the distance traveled or the time involved. Except for a taxicab charging a flat rate, the rates to be charged to passengers are to be based on the factors of mileage from the point of origin to the point of destination by the most direct route, the time involved, and the number of passengers. No taxicab may charge any fees or rates other than those that are posted.

(Ord. 2230, passed 5-11-15)

117.13 COMPLAINTS.

(A)    Every taxicab shall have posted in a prominent place within the passenger compartment a notice entitled "Complaints" setting forth the address and telephone number of the taxicab company to which complaints should be directed and a notice that a record of all complaints shall be open to inspection and review by the city at any time on its request.

(B)    Taxicab companies shall maintain a record of all complaints received either in writing or by telephone.

(Ord. 2230, passed 5-11-15)

117.14 VIOLATION; PENALTY.

Any person who violates a provision of this chapter commits a Class B violation.

(Ord. 2230, passed 5-11-15)