Taxi Companies Seek Safer Ordinance In Evansville

Taxi Companies Seek Safer Ordinance In Evansville
Some Evansville taxi companies are asking the City Council to take a closer look at the reason they cannot decline a ride. They say that reason is due to what they call an outdated ordinance in the city of Evansville.

Rodney Smithhart has been a taxi driver for nearly fifteen years. He says he knows a thing or two about reading the people who get into the back seat of his cab.

"I keep my mirror adjusted to where I can see my passenger. If they are really edgy, or twisty, that's a sign that something isn't right," says Smithhart.

This week was a good example something defiantly was not right, when an Evansville taxi driver was attacked and stabbed. It's situations like that, that have local companies like Unity Taxi, looking for a change to the current Evansville ordinance.

"The current Evansville city ordinance says, if you call our office needing a taxi, despite of whatever has happened in the past, we can not refuse to send you a taxi," says Smithhart.

Smithhart says it's been an ordinance for as long as he can remember, and though it's a good way to prevent any discrimination against those needing a lift, he does agree, it's dated.

Councilwoman, Stephanie Brinkerhoff-Riley, says the council plans to review the ordinance this coming year. "We are revamping the whole ordinance, but absolutely don't want a cab driver picking up a fare they don't find safe," says Brinkerhoff-Riley.

Smithhart hopes it's people who have had a history of violence in a cab, or have ever threatened a company, that will not be allowed their services, so his job can be a little safer. "It's going to benefit everybody. It will benefit cab drivers with all companies, it will benefit the community, it needs to be changed. It's an outdated ordinance that needs to be updated for modern times."

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