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Flying Tuk owner wants city to lower age limit for low-speed vehicle drivers

The owner of Oxford’s only low-speed vehicle-for-hire company asked the Oxford Board of Aldermen Tuesday night to consider amending the city’s Vehicle for Hire ordinance to lower the age limit for its drivers.

Currently, the city requires all drivers operating vehicles for hire to be 21 years old.

Danny Klimetz, one of the owners of Flying Tuk, told the aldermen his company has been having trouble maintaining it’s driving fleet because of age. He requested the age be lowered to 18 but said he would be happy with any change the aldermen were comfortable in granting.

“We employ several university seniors who are 21, and in the fall it’s fine,” he said. “But then spring comes around, and they’re busy with finals, and working on final projects and getting ready for graduation. We’re finding ourselves with a staff shortage.”

The low-speed vehicles are mechanized three-wheeled electric, open-air taxis. They travel at a maximum of 25 mph and only allowed on Oxford streets with a maximum speed limit of 35 mph.

The city’s Vehicle-for-Hire ordinance has three categories of taxis – traditional taxi vehicles, pedicabs and the type of vehicles used by Flying Tux, or other low-speed vehicles like golf carts. While Flying Tuk is currently the only low-speed taxi company operating in Oxford, if the board lowers the driving age, it will affect any future low-speed taxi company.

Mayor Robyn Tannehill said she wasn’t comfortable with lowering the age to 18. Alderman John Morgan suggested 19 years old and Alderman Janice Antonow suggested 20 years old.

“I’d be happy with that,” Klimetz said. “I’d like to be able to hire some sophomores or juniors and be able to keep them around a little longer than just one semester.”

The aldermen agreed to consider changing lowering the age for low-speed taxi drivers to 20 years old.

A public hearing will be held on the ordinance change at the Board of Aldermen’s April 17th meeting with the third reading and possible vote on May 1.