Police issued two citations in crackdown on city cabs

Published 10:59 am Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Two citations for violating the city’s taxi ordinance were issued during a crackdown on illegal cabs in November, Vicksburg Police Department records show.

Deputy Chief Mitchell Dent said a review of the department’s offense reports from November through Tuesday showed that officers wrote both tickets to drivers of “Pick Me Up” Shuttle Taxi Service.

City attorney Lee Thames said Monday that shuttle operators who receive pay for their service must comply with the city’s taxi ordinance. He said city officials notified the operators in September that they had until November to comply with the ordinance.

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Dent said the crackdown on violators began in early November. He said officers stopped cars with shuttle placards on their doors and asked to see proof of city registration and insurance and a city driver’s permit. If the drivers could not produce the paperwork, he said, they were cited.

Dent said, however, that officers might have let some offenders off with warnings.

“An officer has a lot of latitude when he stops someone for a traffic violation,” he said. He said warnings are not included in the police department’s statistics.

“Pick Me Up” Shuttle owner Shereada Manuel met with the Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday to complain that her drivers had been ticketed and to ask the board for time to comply with the ordinance. Joseph Lippman, her business partner and a driver, said police had stopped him six times.

The city gave shuttle operators two more weeks to comply.

Cab companies are required to register with the city, have $75,000 insurance coverage for injuries and $150,000 coverage for accidents and property damage. Cabs must be inspected by the police department, and drivers must be approved and permitted by the city’s Public Transportation Board, which administers the ordinance.