First Feedback on Proposed Taxi Rules

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While much attention is expected to focus on the proposed sale of Hammer Flat at this Tuesday's meeting of the Boise City Council, officials are also expected to get an update on a series of proposed amendments to the city's taxi ordinance.

According to an internal memo to Boise Mayor Davie Bieter, members of the council, Craig Croner and Jamie Heinzerling of the city's Administrative Services Department, comments regarding the proposed changes have been solicited from the general public, the taxi industry and Boise's refugee community.

One of the proposed amendments, a requirement that drivers read, write and speak English, got some pushback from refugee advocates. The group is now discussing with city officials the possibility of amending the language to "demonstrate the ability to speak and understand English." For example, the City Clerk's Office would not allow for an interpreter for testing purposes, however could provide the test orally rather than requiring the individual to read the test. In addition, staff is working with the refugee community to re-word and standardize test questions.

According to written comments sent to the city, 75 percent of those expressing an opinion favored higher quality requirements for vehicles, 82 percent approved of all taxis accepting debit and/or credit cards, and 92 percent approved of a requirement for operators to read, write and speak English.

Additionally, council members are expected to be briefed on the make-up of Boise's taxi community. According to the clerk's office, there are 58 companies with only one car in their fleet, 10 companies have 2-4 cars in their fleet, one company has 5-9 cars in its fleet, and three companies that have 10 or more cars in their fleets.

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