City puts its proposed ride-share ordinance on hold

Published 1:25 pm Friday, July 16, 2021

The City of Oxford is hitting the brakes on its new ride-share ordinance following a public hearing last month.

The Board of Aldermen was expected to hold a third reading and a potential vote on the new ordinance, but it was not placed on the July 6 agenda. The ordinance, if passed, would create two designated pick-up and drop-off spots on the Downtown Square for ride-share vehicles, including Lyft and Uber, and taxis.

According to Mark Levy, who is in charge of special projects for the city, a decision was made against moving forward with a vote on the new ordinance at this time.

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“We had some helpful feedback at the second reading and public meeting,” Levy told the EAGLE. “Based on some of the feedback, we are reviewing all options and do not have a scheduled third reading at this time.”

During the board’s June 15 meeting, local taxi and ride-share drivers voiced several concerns.

The primary concern pertains to the two proposed designated spots, which would be next to the downtown parking garage and on 14th Street next to Harrison Avenue and Tyler Avenue.

Alfonso Jordan of Zoe’s Taxi spoke during the public hearing and touched on losing current parking spots on the Square and moving further away from the bars and restaurants, leading to a potential loss of business.

“That would hurt the taxi business,” Jordan said. “We don’t have the ability with (a ride-share) app … So, the farther you move us (it would hurt our business), because we depend on those walk-up (customers), especially the upcoming football season.”

Another concern among the drivers who spoke was the potential risk to inebriated customers who would have to walk further distances from the bars after a night of drinking while impaired.

The city’s proposal to create designated spots was to help with traffic issues when ride-share vehicles stop in the middle of the streets around the Square waiting for the passengers to find them, according to Mayor Robyn Tannehill.

Without a scheduled third reading and vote of the ordinance scheduled, the designated taxi spots on the Square will continue as normal.