Taxi regulations reinstated in Kent

Jessica Roblin

New taxicab regulations go into effect today, regulating driver requirements, vehicle standards and cab licenses.

In August, Kent City Council passed an ordinance to standardize taxicab service in the city. It applies to all of the eight existing cab services in Kent, and any others looking to start a cab business.

Kent had taxi regulations until about 15 years ago, when cab use declined considerably. In recent years, the need for a ride has increased.

“People think it’s a novel idea, especially late at night, and we are supportive of that if it gets people home safely,” said Kent Safety Director Bill Lillich.

In hope of a safer cab experience and an even playing field for cab owners, city council looked to nearby cities’ taxi laws, such as Barberton and Cuyahoga Falls. These include set liability insurance for user safety and a 24-hour operation period. Drivers must be 21 years old with no felony, drug, alcohol, criminal or sexual offense record, according to the license forms. This was a suggestion of Go2Go Taxi.

“(Students) know they can get into a vehicle licensed to get them to their destination,” said Joel Black, vice president and director of general Services at Go2Go. “They know they are covered both medically and in liability.”

Kent officials approached Go2Go as a reference point for insurance rates and other standards. Black attributes this to the company’s reputation, close location to city officials and the company’s high insurance and safety standards.

With the new regulation, a car’s license and safety inspection seal from the Ohio State Highway Patrol must be visible to customers. A cab’s fare rates must be visible and adhered to by the driver. Penalties to driver and company include fines, jail time and license suspension.

“We don’t want to run legitimate businesses out of town,” Lillich said. “We want to look out for the safety of people in town, also.”

Contact Jessica Roblin at [email protected].