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Proposed Ordinance Would Create Designated Cab, Ride-share Areas

Image provided by city of Oxford

A proposed ordinance would create two assigned areas where all ride-share drivers, taxicabs and designated drivers would pick up their riders.

The Oxford Board of Aldermen heard the first reading of the proposal Tuesday. A second reading and public hearing will be at 5 p.m. on June 15 at City Hall.

If approved, the new ordinance will apply to all cab companies and private ride-share companies, including Uber and Lyft, that operate in the downtown area at night.

In April, the board gave city staff the green light to create the ordinance for their consideration.

The proposed policy is designed to “promote the safety of riders, reduce congestion and allow for a more pedestrian-oriented downtown area.”

The two locations would be next to the downtown parking garage and on 14th Street, between Harrison and Tyler.

“The areas were selected due to the ability to queue several vehicles in a well-lit, secure area,” said Mark Levy, director of special projects.

Ride-share companies such as Uber are mandated by state legislation and are not bound to follow city laws. However, Levy said Uber reports they’re happy to comply with the proposed ordinance for pick-up locations.

All vehicles for hire will have to use the designated pick-up location when picking up riders in the downtown area between the hours of 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., seven days a week.

The designated pick-up spaces will be marked for three vehicles on the pavement; however, Levy said there is actually room for about 10 vehicles.

The new pick-up areas would replace any current cab parking spaces allocated on the Square.

Earlier this month, Mayor Robyn Tannehill said she had heard from a local cab driver who felt the city’s laws and mandates for cab drivers were too strict now that there are fewer local cab companies, and that the only “perk” was having the reserved parking spots on the Square.

Local cab drivers are required to apply for a permit for their vehicle for $500, have their vehicles inspected by the Oxford Police Department, submit to criminal background checks and carry insurance no less $100,000 for the death or injury to any one person, $300,000 total public liability for any one accident and $100,000 for property damage.

Tannehill said city staff and the Board of Aldermen would soon be reviewing its current vehicle-for-hire ordinance to see if changes are warranted.

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