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Cab owner asks Oxford leaders to reconsider insurance requirements

On the window of a Zoe’s Taxi vehicle, the company claims to charge the lowest rates in Oxford; however, owner Alfonzo Jordan told the Oxford Board of Aldermen Tuesday that due to high insurance requirements and fake Uber drivers, staying competitive is becoming harder to achieve in Oxford.

Jordan asked the board to consider decreasing the amount of insurance local taxicab companies are required to have. Currently, the Vehicle for Hire ordinance mandates cab drivers carry no less than $100,000 for the death or injury, $300,000 total public liability and $100,000 for property damage.

Jordan said the $300K for public liability is very expensive and is asking it be reduced to $75,000 or $100,000.

Making a living as a cab driver is becoming more difficult Jordan said because of “fake” Uber drivers who are operating as vehicles for hire without having to follow any laws.

They’re operating as private taxis, giving out business cards and taking calls without using the Uber app and not following Uber guidelines,” Jordan said. “They’re not following any rules – the city’s or Uber’s.”

In April 2016, Gov. Phil Bryant signed HB1381 into law, which puts the state’s Insurance Department in charge of regulating transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft, meaning they don’t have to follow local city requirements. However, they are required by the state to pay a 5,000 yearly license fee and the driver or the company to have insurance covering the transportation of passengers. While carrying passengers, the driver would have to be insured for up to $1 million.

The problem is, these drivers are building up their clientele through Uber, but then hand out their personal numbers but when they’re asked by law enforcement they claim to be Uber drivers,” said Mayor Robyn Tannehill. “Some of our local taxi companies are removing their decals and saying they’re Uber to avoid our requirements. It’s a battle we’re going to continue to fight and we’ve made our legislators very aware of the lack of supervision.”

Tannehill instructed Parking Director Matt Davis to check how other similar cities are handling the situation and what their insurance requirements for cab companies are and report back to the board on his findings.