Nine taxi companies continue to operate in Amherst after passing inspections
Nine taxi companies will continue to pick up fares in Amherst this year after they recently passed inspections.
The companies combined have 19 cabs with electronic meters to tabulate fares for customers, required by the Select Board as of Jan. 1, instead of zoned-map systems that charge predetermined fares depending on where in town someone is driven.
Police Chief Scott P. Livingstone said the idea is this will mean better and safer service for those who depend on it.
“What we hoped for is to weed out some of the bad companies,” Livingstone said.
Livingstone said Sgt. Brian Daly and staff from Town Hall inspection services, including the weights and measures inspector, inspected the taxis and met with the companies just before the new year. So far, 14 of the 19 vehicles have gone through this process, with five still awaiting approval.
The nine cab companies that will continue to operate are Christian Coach, Celebrity Cab and Aaron’s Paradise Transportation, both with five cabs, Ziqui Taxi, with three vehicles, Gotta Go Taxi, with two cabs, and Ambassador Taxi, Grab A Cab, Tik Tak Taxi and Tiznit Valley Cab, each with one vehicle.
Green Cab, Green Transportation and Taxi Express have not yet reapplied to continue operations and are presumed to not be licensed this year, according to information supplied by Debra Roussel, assistant to the town manager.
If this holds, the number of taxi companies will have declined from 12 to nine, with a nearly 70 percent drop in licensed taxis, from 61 to 19.
The police department in April began a formal inspection process in which officers make sure that all cabs have proper markings, meet safety standards and are clean.
Livingstone said stickers on these vehicles indicate whether or not they have passed the inspections. The meters are the newest visible clue that the cab is allowed to operate in Amherst.
Anyone who is picking up people hailing cabs in Amherst that doesn’t have a meter in the cab can be reported to police, who will investigate all complaints.
Livingstone said this is the first step in a continuing process.
“We want to get this to the point where it’s self regulating,” Livingstone said.
— SCOTT MERZBACH