Duluth Proposes Major Overhaul in Taxi Laws

Ordinance Changes Aim to Make Cabs Cleaner, Safer

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City leaders are planning for a major overhaul in Duluth’s taxi business, and cab drivers are taking the wheel to help with the new direction.

There are a handful of cabs driving around Duluth that police and city leaders say are filled with cigarette smoke and aren’t exactly welcoming.

Duluth officials are working to change that by creating new laws that’ll hopefully clean up Duluth’s cab scene.

“People don’t want to hop into junk,” said Bayside Taxi driver, Dan Ralston. “They want to hop into something nice that’s clean on the inside, clean on the outside.”

It’s been eight years since city officials have touched the cab ordinance, and they think it’s long overdue for some major updates.

Set competition for business aside for a minute, and you have a room full of Duluth cab drivers who have one thing in common.

“There’s a lot of issues in the town here right now that we have to all deal with,” said Ralston.

Police Chief Gordon Ramsay and City Councilor Sharla Gardner are making sure Duluth’s cabs are the best they can be, but to do that they need to make some changes to the outdated city ordinance.

“There’s been concerns raised for a couple of years,” said District 3 City Councilor, Sharla Gardner. “We’re going to go through the ordinance and the changes step by step and see if we can come to agreement.”

New law proposals include making smoking inside cabs illegal, companies picking a color scheme so they’re easy to identify, not having banged up vehicles more than 15 years old, and creating a solid way to display exactly how much your ride will cost.

“We’re just asking that they either use a dollar amount or a cents-per-mile amount,” explained Gardner. “They can decide however they want to do it but they should just use one measurement.”

Also included is insurance liability requirements and how often cabs should get re-certified.

Gardner hopes the changes will make cabs more user friendly and safe.

They’re laws the community and customers asked for.

So far, drivers seem to be okay with the proposed items.

“You gotta have some kind of rules or they do whatever they want to,” said co-owner of Allied Taxi, Len Gralewski.

“I’m on board with the no smoking cab thing. I’m on board with the rates,” said Ralston. “I’m on board with the color scheme.”

Gardner hopes to have the ordinance ready for a vote mid-April.

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