Jackson MS Taxi Ordinance Update

There’s a new Taxi Ordinance draft governing taxi companies in Jackson Mississippi that has been in limbo for the past month. This subject has been in discussion for almost two years, dating back to late 2014 with companies asking for more lenient guidelines for companies operating Vehicles-for-Hire and also lawsuits filed by citizens wanting to start their own company but can’t because of the strict taxi ordinances in Jackson.

Discussions in past meetings included hours of service, number of vehicles required, vehicle inspections, ADA compliance, requirement of physical office in Jackson, drug testing, and rates. Even though this is not a complete list of points discussed these are the main topics discussed in this meeting and the past.

As it stands since the last meeting, Robert West and the Licencing and Permit Unit with the Jackson Police Department, is also waiting for the new ordinance to be passed. He mentioned that the requirement be lowered from eight vehicles, but require a new company’s first vehicle to be ADA compliant. Mr. West introduced the idea, which is in the new ordinance, of disbanding the Transit Committee and allowing the Licencing and Permit Unit and the Privilege License Office to streamline the application process for new and existing companies.

James Day with Jackson Taxi, added a comment that with Jackson only setting a ceiling on rates would cause chaos[sic]. Many cities sets rates for taxi companies but each company setting their own rates fleet-wide would be a better strategy. That’s like telling CRST and Total Transportation, which is trucking companies from the area, they have to charge customers the same rate instead of allowing the individual companies to have the flexibility to charge their own rates or bids for contracts.

Taxi Tim owner Timothy Burnham, spoke in the October 6th meeting. It was asked of him why couldn’t he get certified in Jackson and he responded how the current ordinance is set up to keep existing companies tied and keep out competition.

Bob Waller who owns Veteran’s Cab in Jackson, spoke about how smaller independent companies cherry-pick[sic] calls unlike Veteran’s which takes every call that comes in. Being on the inside of this debate, I drive for Taxi Tim. I have never turned down a dispatched call regardless of where it originated. I’ve picked up people who when asked, mentioned that drivers from Jackson based cab companies either was 20-30 minutes late or never showed at all.

I’ve picked up, free of charge, at McDade’s Marketplace in Fondren a couple times where the person lives at the Buford Yerger Retirement Center after I exited store and was approached and asked for a ride because they had been waiting for hours. It’s only about a $6 ride, but I did it free of charge. Not because I was trying to take away business from Jackson based companies, it was because they failed in service and have absolutely no accountability.

Mr. Waller also called out the company Taxi Tim and their drivers about not having adequate insurance without backing his statement with facts. Insurance information is available upon request from Taxi Tim.

As of today November 14, 2016, no further action has been discussed with the newly proposed taxi ordinance. Council Member Kennith Stokes spoke in other Committee and Planning meetings about getting the agenda cleaned up by Christmas 2016 for in turn of the new year, but this item has still not passed and no further discussion has been made and no meetings has been set.