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Counterfeit cab claim causes city council concern

Perham city officials about a year ago decided against passing regulations regarding taxicab service within the city. Now, they may now be reconsidering that decision.

Terrie Anderson, owner of Ghost Runner Taxi Service spoke to city council's Committee of the Whole and expressed her concerns about she claims are "unlicensed or uninsured taxis" operating in the city.

Anderson said these "unlicensed and insured drivers are for the most part giving rides at night from bars and taking money from people (like her) that spend the money on qualified-licensed drivers and who have liability insurance."

"It's not an issue of cutting into my business, if they have the license and the necessary insurance, fine, but when they are not licensed or have the liability insurance that I have to carry, you are looking at a danger for community."

Anderson said her company's drivers have their backgrounds checked by insurance companies.

"Some of these unqualified drivers have also implied they are with Ghost Taxis," said Anderson.

She said some bar owners are also contacting the uninsured taxi service to get rides for some of their customers, which Anderson claims, could create liability problems for the bartenders.

"We do not allow our drivers to sit in the bar, whether it's Pepsi or whatever. They are actually soliciting in bars for these people," said Anderson.

Anderson said she wanted to bring the problem to the attention of city officials to see what they might do about the situation.

"I'm not asking for supervision, but I just feel that whoever wants to operate a taxi should be accountable to you so you, the city, know who they are," Anderson explained. "I think they should be able to provide a certificate proving their insurance."

City council member Jim Johnson asked if the city's Safety Committee has looked at the issue recently. He was told no.

Mayor Timothy Meehl said he can see Anderson's concern, but "we can't stop somebody from bringing a person from outside the city into the city."

Meehl also said that he believes the issue is something "We should look more into." Meehl said the city should have the police chief check with the county to see what they might have for regulations. The chief said he would look into reviewing copies of ordinances on the matter in other cities.

"We'll have the Safety Committee look at it further," said the Mayor.