Friday, June 25th–Cab Coalition Eyes Rogue Drivers

OCEAN CITY — Some say
that a picture is worth a thousand words. 
But, if a group of cab drivers get their way, a picture could end up
costing a $1,500 medallion.

A group of cab drivers
sat quietly at City Hall on Monday, listening to Larry Bode, owner of Casino
Express taxi, plea to the Mayor and Council to be allowed to start an
association of cab drivers in order to self-police their industry.

“We are here because we
want to help, and we want to be a part of this community,” said Bode. “We want
to help you enforce the rules because there are cab drivers and companies out
there on the streets today that are breaking your rules in every case of the

Bode told the council
he’s seen firsthand and heard reports of cab drivers overloading their cabs,
picking up fares in the bus lane and driving people around town without the
meter or their light on.  He asked
council if they would be in favor of receiving photos from the so-called
“coalition of cabbies” that would help the council prosecute what he called
“dangerous offenders” of the law.

“If you guys want to get
out there and take the pictures and show us what’s going on, more power to
you,” said Councilman Jim Hall. “Take the pic, send the proof, cause a picture
is worth a thousand words.”

Bode has a list of about
75 names throughout the local industry that have joined together to help bring
to justice the drivers and companies that are breaking the rules.

“They are afraid if they
say anything that the bulls eye will be on them, and that’s why I’m up here,”
said Bode.

Council President Joe
Mitrecic said this week that he believes the council’s move to empower the cab
drivers to self-police themselves could be both good and bad.

“On one hand, I think
that it’s a good thing that they want to help out, because I truly believe that
there are a few companies out there that just refuse to follow the rules, and
maybe this will help to prosecute them,” said Mitrecic, “but, on the other
hand, I think this is one of those situations that is only going to cause more
divisiveness amongst those in the industry.”

In a related note, the
council voted unanimously to keep taxis that do not have a registered medallion
with the town from being allowed to pick up fares at town-owned facilities that
are located outside the city limits.

Simply put, if a cab
does not have a medallion, it will no longer be able to pick up a cab fare at
the Ocean City Municipal Airport, for instance.

“I think this is a good
idea, and it’s fair,” said Councilman Jim Hall, “Obviously, this is a working
document and this is a part of it we missed.”