City considers new taxi regulations to benefit passenger safety

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- The city of Rockford is cracking down on its taxi cab ordinance after receiving several complaints. The city has had a taxi ordinance for several years but hasn't enforced it. City officials are unsure how many taxis are operating on the streets and if those cars are up to code but now they’re looking to change that.

"This is preventative. We don’t want something bad to happen in a taxi cab,” said attorney for the city of Rockford Kerry Partridge.

The city of Rockford is considering revising its taxi ordinance after getting complaints that some cabs aren't in good condition. The city has come up with several ways to beef up its enforcement policy.

"We wanted to make sure that the drivers of the taxis are not convicted felons, didn’t have convictions for sex offenses, check their driving records and make sure they don’t have suspended driver’s license,” said Partridge.

Partridge says the revisions are necessary because the city isn't sure just how many taxis are currently working since none of them have been inspected to their knowledge.

"We want to make sure that the folks that use taxi cabs on an ongoing basis for their primary mode of transportation are safe."

"A good business that has ethics is going to be able to comfortably adjust to whatever the city wants. It's my belief that the city makes these changes for the betterment of our community,” said owner of Rockford Ride Joshua Beitel.

Josh Beitel recently started the service Rockford Rides. He says he's willing to comply with the new ordinance to keep his passengers safe.

"When you're traveling back and forth whether it be here or somewhere else, you want to be able to trust whose driving, you want to be able to feel safe and secure with that person,” said Beitel.

The city says if drivers and taxis are not in compliance, police will have the authority to impound and tow the cab.

"We're telling the taxi cabs owners to come in and get your license and look at the ordinance,” said Partridge.

The Codes and Regulations Committee laid over the ordinance Monday night. The city will not be enforcing the new policy until it's approved by the full council. City leaders say they will be reaching out to taxi services to make them aware of the policy.

The ordinance will not affect limos, party buses or ridesharing services like Lyft or Uber. The ordinance will come back to the committee in two weeks.