Charleston City Council on Tuesday night is expected to adopt Police Chief Greg Mullen’s proposal to create three designated taxi stands in the Market area as the only places riders could be picked up during the late-night hours of the weekend.
While some cabbies say the change will restrict their chances to make better money and tips during the busiest hours, others support the ordinance in the name of regulating Market traffic.
“We think it’s a great idea,” said Jerry Crosby, vice president of Yellow Cab of Charleston.
One question he had, though, is how authorities will manage the crowds waiting for cabs, particularly if it is raining.
Mullen said the proposal is needed to bring a sense of safety and order to the Market, where bar patrons, sometimes intoxicated, are known to walk into busy streets looking to flag a cab ride.
Under the proposal, from 12:30 to 3 a.m. Friday through Sunday, the three stands would be the only places where taxi and rider could meet within the confines of Market and surrounding streets. Taxis there would have to queue on a first-come, first-served basis.
One of the stops would be on Market Street, across from the Planters Inn. Another would be at Market and East Bay streets, near the Noisy Oyster and the Customhouse.
The largest of the three stands would be at the corner of Market and Anson streets, where horse carriage tours line up during the day.
All three would become incorporated into what Mullen is calling the taxi “No Flag” zone. Violators would face a fine of $262, which is in line with other taxi moving violations. The ordinance would be for a one-year pilot.
If approved, there would be a 30-to-60 day education period in which cabbies would be informed through fliers and other means on how the system will work, Mullen said.
Some area residents say the proposal is a good idea. “Our feeling is anything the city and Chief Mullen can do to reduce the probability of inebriated people coming through Ansonborough, we support,” said Steve Hanson, president of the Historic Ansonborough Neighborhood Association.
“If the taxi stand works the way Chief Mullen described it, it will cut down on noise, rowdiness and the potential for vandalism associated with the bars in the Market,” he added.
City Council meets at 5 p.m., at City Hall, 80 Broad St. There is a public-input session on the agenda during which members of the community can address matters of concern to the mayor and council, but the session is not tied specifically to the taxicab ordinance.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.