Taxi company owners will likely receive a second one-year extension to replace their antiquated vehicles. Municipal officials will allow the city’s taxi industry to operate vehicles as old as 12 years.
“They want another year,” said Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman, 2nd Ward councilman. “They are going to replace the cars, they just want one more year.” Taxi companies were allowed an extension to the 10 years taxi age limit last year, city officials said.
Taxi owners lobbied city council members saying they needed more time to upgrade their fleets to adhere to the city’s ten year age limit for vehicles. City clerk Sonia Gordon said a lot of the taxi company owners have vehicles from 2003 and 2004.
Gordon said 50-percent of one company’s vehicles were aged out.
“That’s a whole company, you’re taking a whole company out of business,” remarked Alex Mendez, councilman at-large.
“The whole company is ignoring the ordinance,” said William McKoy, 3rd Ward councilman. “Some of these vehicles, I’m not too sure they would pass proper inspection.”
McKoy said the city gave taxi owners ten years. In 2013, the council passed an ordinance changing age limit for vehicles from six to 10 years, according to a Paterson Times article from December 3rd, 2013. He said that’s more than what other cities allow.
“I’ve seen a lot of these cabs and they are in bad shape,” said McKoy. He said some of these vehicles are placing the public at risk.
Gordon said the companies are extending an effort to upgrade their fleet to abide by the city’s ordinance. She said the state visits the city once a year to inspect taxicabs. The city’s taxi inspector also regularly inspects vehicles.
Council members agreed to grant the companies an additional one-year. Council members at first wanted to extend the extension that was granted last year by another year, but then opted to change the ordinance to permanently increase the age limit for vehicles from 10 to 11.
“If we deny the extension, we’ll take a whole company out of business,” said Mendez.
McKoy suggested this is the last time the council will grant extra time to the taxi businesses. “This time we mean business,” said McKoy, of the possible 11 year age limit.