A controversial clause on passenger identification has been removed from the latest draft of Cheektowaga’s new taxicab law, which is up for a public hearing next week.
The revision of the 1985 ordinance began at the request of town police, who said that taxis have been used in the commission of crimes and that there’s been a problem with unlicensed cabs. The new law would require more information about who drives the cabs and who owns them.
But the first draft contained a records-keeping requirement for drivers of livery vehicles, such as limousines, to compile the name, address and phone number of each passenger, as well as where each is picked up. That drew fire from the New York Civil Liberties Union’s regional executive director, who said requiring passenger information was “way over the line.”
The current proposal doesn’t seek that. Instead, the name, address and phone number of the person who books the service is required.
“We really only need to get the information on the person that’s arranging the transportation,” Deputy Town Attorney Jeffrey Whiting said Thursday. “We don’t need to know the information on everybody in the vehicle.”
Another change in the latest draft relates to the coverage area.Buffalo Niagara International Airport, the Village of Sloan and the parts of the Village of Depew within the town have been eliminated, as it was in the 1985 ordinance.
Whiting said the airport was part of the first draft because some people with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, which operates the airport, indicated they wanted to be included. “I think it was just a miscommunication,” he said Thursday.
Taxi service from the airport is handled by a single company, licensed by the City of Buffalo, that has had a long-standing agreement with the NFTA. “They have more than sufficient coverage of their own. They really don’t need another layer on top of it,” Whiting said.
A public hearing on the latest draft of the taxicab law will be held during Monday’s Town Board meeting, which begins at 6:45 p.m. in Council Chambers of Town Hall.