Wednesday, November 28 – OCPD Seeks Funds To Monitor Cabs

OCEAN CITY – Taxi drivers and companies could be facing stricter rules and enforcement in the near future, after discussion at a recent Police Commission meeting resulted in the unanimous agreement to add more teeth to the current regulations.

After noticing an increase in complaints over taxis this past summer, Ocean City Police Sergeant Scott Harner decided to delve further into the ongoing issue and take a closer look at the root of the problem. After keeping a closer eye on taxi cab complaints and violations this summer, Harner decided to gather the information he found and present a proposal to the commission.

Harner presented his findings to the commission this week, citing specific instances of taxi violations and suggesting several solutions to an ongoing and increasing problem in Ocean City. More specifically, Harner requested that $10,000 be allocated and utilized to regulate stricter rules and enforcement on cab drivers as well as taxi companies.

Harner explained that he, as well as several other police officers, had noticed an increase in complaints regarding taxicabs. Complaints have been coming from not only citizens, but from other taxi drivers as well who are calling to report on other taxi drivers not in compliance.

Harner suggested that the money be divvied out in shifts, being utilized mainly for officers with traffic training and to officers who are well versed in taxis and the current ordinance.

“Then you still have a whole range of officers out there who probably need to be involved in traffic enforcement,” Councilman Jay Hancock said.

Hancock suggested that all officers be better educated on the traffic and taxi regulations.  He also pointed out that enforcement needed to be increased on not only the drivers, but on the cab company owners as well. 

The commission agreed that the enforcement was a necessary step toward solving the problem.

City Manager Dennis Dare, when asked about whether the financing was feasible, said, “I think it’s workable.”

Police Chief Bernadette DiPino also showed full support for the proposal.

Harner suggested that the proposal go into affect next June, but the commission felt starting as soon as possible, perhaps even New Year’s Eve, would be better.

“We need to start sooner rather than later,” said DiPino. “Get them before the summer starts.”

To read the entire story as well as dozens of other articles, see The Dispatch and its online counterpart on Friday.