Cab drivers and their vehicles will have to meet a host of new conditions under an ordinance passed unanimously by the village council Monday night, including restrictions on what can and can not be worn while driving.
The new ordinance largely follows what was originally suggested by Village Administrator Michael Sturino in January, with one exception. The ordinance approved at the council’s March 24 meeting does not mandate that a cab company have a minimum number of vehicles in order to be licensed in Forest Park. In January Sturino had proposed a minimum fleet size of 10 cabs.
“I think we said that it was anticompetitive to require 10 cabs,” Commissioner Rory Hoskins said.
The ordinance does require that cabs be no older than 10 years old. In 2010 that mandate tightens and vehicles can not be older than eight years old.
The new ordinance also imposes dress and hygiene requirements for drivers. Clothes must be clean and drivers may not wear tank tops, body shirts, cut offs, jogging suits, and sandals without socks. Drivers are permitted to wear Bermuda length shorts, but only from May 1 through Sept. 30.
The fine for violating the dress code is set at $200.
Cab companies are required to maintain a central dispatch, a two way communication system with drivers, and a lost and found. A bullet resistant partition or an in-vehicle security camera is required.
Drivers are prohibited from using cell phones while transporting customers. And drivers are required to accept credit card payments with a wireless credit card reader. Drivers are also required to carry a current detailed street map or a GPS system.
Smoking is prohibited in cabs.
The number of taxicabs that will be licensed in Forest Park remains at 150 and the public hearing requirement for new applicants has been eliminated.
Fares for transporting Forest Park residents age 62 and older to certain destinations remain capped. Trips to the Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, the junction of Lake and Harlem streets, Rush Oak Park Hospital, and the junction of 22nd and Harlem remained capped at $3.50. The fare to transport seniors to West Suburban Medical Center remains capped at $5.
Commissioner Mike Curry hailed the new ordinance.
“We are serving the citizens by regulating taxicabs and making sure our citizens, and others, are not taken advantage of through improper taxi services, illegal driving habits and inoperable or nearly inoperable vehicles.”