By Lilya Nguyen, For The Miami Student
Oxford city officials are seeking the support from Associated Student Government (ASG) to toughen taxi operation laws in town.
The city's ordinance, last updated in 1961, only require taxi drivers to be 21 years old and have a driver's license. Oxford's economic development director, Alan Kyger, is currently drafting amendments that he compares to cities such as Bowling Green and Kent.
Some of the options under discussion are required background checks for drivers, regular car inspections, predetermined parking zones for taxis during high traffic nights, markings on vehicles to identify the business and clearly displayed rate cards.
He said the city is not interested in creating rules to challenge the businesses, but rather to ensure a transparent and safe environment for both taxi operators and customers with stricter regulations.
"We have taxicab rules in place, but we want to make them better for the customers and businesses," Kyger said. "We want a system, an ordinance that captivates on providing safe drivers and safe vehicle for customers of Oxford."
According to Kyger and ASG Secretary for Off-Campus Affairs, senior Kevin Krumpak, students have never filed any serious charges against taxi drivers. However, Krumpak is concerned problems could arise in the future, and at this point, there is no way to handle them because of the outdated legislation.
"We want to take preventative policy measures to avoid any incidents," Krumpak said.
Kyger is working with Officer Derrick Carlson from Oxford Police Department to draft the amendments. Carlson, Kyger and students recognize similar problems.
"We want to help students to know what business they are using so if, for example, they lost something they can reach out to the right company," Krumpak said.
Kyger approached ASG because Miami students are the majority of customers that use the taxi service in Oxford.
Krumpak said Kyger had an open dialogue at the senate meeting and students were happy to see the city cares about their well-being.
"This is affecting students more than it is any other demographic within Oxford," Krumpak said.
Sophomore Suni Nguyen uses Miami Taxi twice a week to go to doctor appointments. She said she always feels safe using the service.
"My friend recommended me the company so I trust him," Nguyen said. "My driver always makes sure I get to the appointment on time and that is what is important to me."
Kyger said the challenge to create new amendments is to find a balance in protecting customers, but also creating a healthy environment for the taxicab operators.
Kyger expects the first full draft of the legislation to be finished by December. Students are highly encouraged to submit recommendations to improve taxicab regulations through their senators or using contact form on ASG's website.