LONG BRANCH: The city council unanimously passed an ordinance during its June 24 meeting that could double the number of taxi licenses allowed from 50 to 100.
Shore Cab of Long Branch and Jersey Shore Taxi currently split the 50 license as they are the only two companies licensed to operate in Long Branch.
The ordinance as originally introduced by Long Branch Director of Public Safety Jason Roebuck in February after he said there had been numerous complaints from residents about the current taxi cab service being slow. He said the hope is that having more taxis will improve wait times.
The ordinance sets the minimum bid for the new licenses at $50,000. It also eliminates the taxi stand near McDonald’s.
Taxi owner Muhammad Kahn said he was opposed to getting rid of the taxi stand.
“We need that for the winter time when it’s slow, the cars can sit there and a lot of people walk there, people who have no phone or can’t speak english come there and take a cab from there,” Kahn said. “It’s a very important spot for us.”
Councilwoman Joy Bastelli asked why the taxi stand is necessary if the city is now going to allow cruising.
“When you cruise you burn gas and this is not New York City, I would say 95 percent of our fares are phone calls, if we make a pickup it’s usually either at the train station or the taxi stand by McDonald’s,” Kahn replied. “We make more pickups at the taxi stand than at the train station.”
Bastelli said at the end of the meeting that she was interested in talking more about possibly keeping the taxi stand.
Kahn said he also opposed increasing the inspection fees to $75.
“I think the rationale with the inspection is that from what I’m told is…the cabs were failing inspection so they would come back and forth and each time they did that takes a toll on the police department,” Councilman John Pallone said. “The thought was that was if there was a fee that they would be sure before they came that they would pass inspection.”
Councilwoman Kathleen Billings said not all of the 50 licenses will be rolled out right away and that only 5 or 10 would be available initially.