About thirty taxi cab owners and drivers, along with family members, came to Tuesday's Plainfield City Council meeting to bring their concerns over unfair competition to the Council's attention.
The group represented Plainfield's four taxi companies, which can be identified by their cabs' colors: Caribe (orange sherbet), Liberty (red), Queen City Yellow (chrome yellow), and United (blue).
Saying the four companies represent approximaely 100 jobs, they complained that unfair competition from unlicensed and uninsured "gypsy" cabs as well as North Plainfield's Soria taxis are undercutting their ability to make a living.
Soria has been the source of complaints for years, as their cabs both stop for street hails and pickup at various Plainfield locations (such as Supremo and Twin City), both in violation of the statutes.
Out-of-town cab companies may deliver passengers to Plainfield, but are prohibited from picking up fares within the city limits.
The fare structure for the Plainfield cab companies is regulated by ordinance, and one complaint is that fares are undercut by both Soria and the gypsies.
Council members listened attentively and seemed generally supportive, as did City Administrator Rick Smiley and Public Safety Director Carl Riley.
The problem, as Riley pointed out, is that the police must catch a driver in the act of picking up an illegal fare. When they see it happen, they take action, but there simply aren't the resources to dedicate officers to pursuing violators.
I wonder if the City could help by running a public awareness campaign to educate the general public on the benefits of using only legal and licensed taxis.
-- Dan Damon [follow]