The Altenheim assisted living facility in Forest Park recently sent a complaint to the Blue Cab Company regarding an alleged lack of compliance with the village’s recently passed flat-rate cab fare ordinance.
The village council unanimously passed the ordinance in April, allowing any resident of Forest Park to take a taxi to any other point within the village for a flat fee of .50.
According to Altenheim Assistant Director Dianne Beaty, who authored the complaint, this has not proven to be the case for several Altenheim residents. “Blue Cab generally has a very good system in place, but I’ve received several complaints,” she said.
Blue Cab owner Jim Bennett said any issues that have arisen are part of an adjustment period to the new law, and will be taken care of. “We ran meters for I don’t know how many years, so this is just something we’re going to have to get used to,” he said.
The complaint, he added, was the first his company had been made aware of, and said he would be reminding his drivers of the ordinance. The village, he said, notified him of the ordinance soon after it passed.
In addition to the flat fee for Forest Park residents, the ordinance imposed a fee schedule for Forest Park seniors when traveling to common destinations in other communities.
People older than 62 pay .50 to travel from Forest Park to the 22nd and Harlem shopping area, the Lake Street and Harlem shopping area, Loyola Hospital of Maywood, and the Rush Oak Park Hospital. A trip to West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park costs .
Beaty said the incident that finally got her to take action occurred July 28 when a resident asked to be taken to Loyola Hospital. When told upon arrival that the ride would cost , Beaty said, the resident informed the driver of the ordinance and gave him an even .
According to the complaint, the driver responded by saying, “This is all you’re going to give me, ?” and told the resident to get out of the cab. The disabled resident, according to the complaint, then had to walk about 50 yards to the hospital.
Bennett said he planned to “bring the driver in and talk to him” about the incident.
Beaty estimated she’s received about half a dozen complaints since the ordinance was passed. “If you’re going to go through the trouble of passing the ordinance, it should be enforced,” she said, noting that she has not received complaints regarding any other companies, but that Blue Cab is the primary taxi company used by Altenheim residents.
Mayor Anthony Calderone, who also received the complaint sent by Beaty, said, “It sounds like a story of a problem with a particular employee.”
He said the village could conceivably fine or revoke the license of a taxi company that disregarded the ordinance, but this would only be considered if there were consistent complaints of violations.
For people under 62, trips outside Forest Park cost .25 upon hire for one passenger and more for each additional passenger over the age of 12, plus 22 cents for each tenth of a mile traveled.