Local taxi, ride-share drivers express concern with proposed ordinance

Published 1:45 pm Friday, June 18, 2021

Discussion continued this week regarding the proposed ordinance regarding taxi and ride-share companies with drivers having their opportunity to speak to the Oxford Board of Aldermen.

The Aldermen are considering a new ordinance that would create two designated spots for taxis and ride-share vehicles to drop off and pick up those coming to the Square. If approved, the new ordinance would apply to all taxi companies and private ride-share companies, including Uber and Lyft.

A second reading of the proposed ordinance took place during Tuesday’s meeting, which includes a public hearing.

During the meeting, local taxi and Uber drivers spoke out against the proposed ordinance, particularly the two designated spots which would be next to the downtown parking garage and on 14th Street next to Harrison Avenue and Tyler Avenue.

One of the main issues Alfonso Jordan of Zoes Taxi had was losing the ability of  their current parking spots on the Square and moving further away from the bars and restaurants, which Jordan said would hinder his business.

“That would hurt the taxi business,” Jordan told the Board of moving them off the Square. “We don’t have the ability with (a ride-share) app like that. So, the farther you move us (it would hurt our business), because we depend on those walk ups. Especially the upcoming football season.

The proposal is designed to create a more pedestrian friendly Downtown Square while providing safety for riders and causing less congestion along the Square with cars stopping to wait for their riders. All vehicles for hire would be required to use the two designated spots for pick-ups and drop-offs between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m., seven days a week.

Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill cited trying to prevent ride-share vehicles from stopping in the middle of the street while they wait for their riders to come to them, holding up traffic on busy weekends, such as a home Ole Miss football game weekend.

Jordan and other drivers who spoke, acknowledged the Board’s concern for public safety of pedestrians but also brought up the potential for more harm to come to those who might be inebriated and having to walk longer distances to get to their taxi or other ride-share vehicle.

“I think y’all have given us a lot to think about and to chew on,” Tannehill said. “I think as this was a public hearing, it’s not a vote, I think you’ve given us a lot to think about.”

A third reading and potential vote of the ordinance will take place during the July 6 Board of  Aldermen meeting