Township of Independence, NJ
Warren County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Independence 6-14-1975 (Ch. 141 of the 1984 Code); amended in its entirety at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 149.

§ 354-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
LIMOUSINE
Any vehicle which is owned or operated by a person having its principal place of business within the Township of Independence and which is used in the business of carrying passengers for hire to provide prearranged passenger transportation at a premium fare on a dedicated, nonscheduled, charter basis that is not conducted on a regular route and with a seating capacity not to exceed 14 passengers, not including the driver, provided that such vehicle shall not have a seating capacity in excess of four passengers (not including the driver) beyond the maximum passenger seating capacity of the vehicle (not including the driver) at the time of manufacture.
OPERATOR
Any natural person who operates a taxicab or limousine and includes both employees and subcontractors of an owner.
OPERATOR'S LICENSE
A license issued to each operator of a taxicab or limousine licensed under this chapter.
OWNER
Any person in whose name title to any taxicab or limousine is registered with the Division of Motor Vehicles in the Department of Law and Public Safety of the State of New Jersey, or who appears in such records to be the licensee thereof.
OWNER'S LICENSE
A license issued to any owner for each taxicab or limousine licensed under this chapter.
PERSON
Includes any individual, association, corporation, limited-liability company and any other entity.
STREET
Includes any street, avenue, park, parkway, highway or other public place.
TAXICAB
Includes any automobile, van or motor car which is designed to carry not more than six passengers, excluding the operator of the vehicle, commonly called a "taxi" or "cab," engaged in the business of carrying passengers for hire which is held out, announced or advertised to accept or which accepts such persons as may offer themselves for transportation from points or places within the Township to points or places within or without the Township.

§ 354-2 Applicability.

This chapter shall apply to:
A. 
All owners and/or operators of taxicabs having a principal place of business within the Township or otherwise engaging in the business of carrying passengers for hire by operating a vehicle which is held out, announced or advertised to accept or which accepts such persons as may offer themselves for transportation from points or places within the Township to points or places within or without the Township; and
B. 
All owners and/or operators of limousines having a principal place of business within the Township of Independence.

§ 354-3 Municipal licenses required.

Except as provided in § 354-8 of this chapter, no person shall operate a taxicab or limousine business in the Township of Independence without a license issued pursuant to this chapter. A separate owner's license shall be issued for each taxicab and limousine, and a separate operator's license shall be issued for each operator.

§ 354-4 Application for license; license expiration.

A. 
Application for a license under this chapter shall be made to the Township Committee on forms adopted by such Committee, which shall be made available to applicants by the Township Clerk. The application shall elicit the following information:
(1) 
The name of the applicant (if the applicant is a corporation or other business entity licensed by the State of New Jersey, the application shall also designate a representative of such entity);
(2) 
The principal place of business of the applicant and all other address(es) as listed in all local telephone directories;
(3) 
Proof of insurance as required by § 354-10 of this chapter;
(4) 
The make, model, and license plate number of the taxicab or limousine for which the license is sought;
(5) 
The name, address and driver's license number of each operator to be employed or otherwise hired by the applicant; and
(6) 
Any other information as required by the Township Committee and/or set forth in this chapter.
B. 
The applicant shall also provide a driver's abstract issued by the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles and criminal background check fingerprint cards for the applicant and, if the applicant is not an individual, each individual owning more than 5% of the equity of the applicant, as well as for each operator to be employed or otherwise hired by the applicant at the time the application is submitted.
C. 
The applicant shall promptly notify the Township Clerk and provide additional drivers' abstracts and criminal background check fingerprint cards as and when other individuals acquire up to a five-percent equity interest in the applicant and/or additional operators are employed or hired during any license term. The additional operators shall be permitted to operate a taxicab or limousine for the applicant on a temporary basis (not to exceed 60 days) upon the submission of a completed application for an operator's license and satisfaction with all other requirements of this § 354-4.
D. 
All licenses issued pursuant to this chapter shall expire at 11:59 p.m. on December 31 of each year. Licenses shall be issued for a period of one year, excepting all licenses which become effective on a date other than January 1, which shall expire on December 31 in accordance with this subsection. Licenses issued for a period shorter than one year shall require payment of a full year's licensing fee. Renewal applications shall be submitted on or before December 1 of the preceding year.
E. 
The provisions of this section shall apply to all initial and renewal licenses, except that applicants for the renewal of any license issued pursuant hereto shall be required to provide criminal background check fingerprint cards every three years. All applicants for renewal licenses shall still be required to provide a driver's abstract issued by the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles on a yearly basis with the renewal application.

§ 354-5 Standards for licensure.

A. 
All applicants and their employed or hired operators shall be properly licensed, possess a driving record which shall not contain more than six points or three moving violations, and shall not have been convicted of a "serious traffic violation," as defined in N.J.S.A. 39:3-10.11, during the past two years.
B. 
All applicants and principals owning 5% or more of the applicant as well as all operators shall not have been convicted of any crime, misdemeanor or disorderly persons offense. The Police Department shall obtain from the New Jersey State Bureau of Identification all records of convictions and pending arrests and charges in the State of New Jersey in accordance with N.J.A.C. 13:59-1 and provide the results of same to the Township Committee. The Township Committee has the discretion to deny a license to any person who does not meet these standards.
C. 
All vehicles proposed to be licensed must possess a valid New Jersey state inspection sticker, and shall satisfy all of the requirements set forth in Title 39, Chapter 3, Article 3 of the New Jersey Statutes.
D. 
The owner or operator shall not have submitted with his application any materially false or misleading statement.
E. 
No taxicab or limousine shall be operated on the streets of the Township without:
(1) 
A two-way communications system which, at a minimum, shall provide for communication to persons outside the vehicle at a distance of not less than 100 miles and which requirement may be satisfied by a mobile telephone;
(2) 
A removable first aid kit and operable fire extinguisher; and
(3) 
If the vehicle floor is over 10 inches above the ground, sideboards attached to the permanent body construction of the vehicle.
F. 
The provisions of this section shall apply to initial licenses and renewal licenses.

§ 354-6 Revocation.

A. 
An owner's license and, if applicable, an operator's license shall be revoked for any one or more of the following:
(1) 
A conviction of the license holder for violating any of the terms of this chapter or the rules and regulations promulgated hereunder.
(2) 
A conviction of the owner or any person owning 5% or more of the equity of the owner of any crime, misdemeanor or disorderly persons offense.
(3) 
A conviction of an operator of any crime, misdemeanor or disorderly persons offense.
(4) 
Where an owner allows an operator to operate a taxicab or limousine where such operator is known to have been convicted of any crime, misdemeanor or disorderly persons offense.
(5) 
The accumulation by an operator of six or more points or the conviction of an operator for three or more moving violations pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:19-10.1 or the conviction of a "serious traffic violation," as defined in N.J.S.A. 39:3-10.11, within any two-year period.
(6) 
Where an owner allows an operator to operate a taxicab or limousine where such operator is known to have accumulated six or more points or committed three or more moving violations pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:19-10.1 or the conviction of a "serious traffic violation," as defined in N.J.S.A. 39:3-10.11, within any two-year period.
(7) 
The failure of any vehicle licensed hereunder to possess a valid New Jersey state inspection sticker or otherwise comply with the requirements of Title 39, Chapter 3, Article 3 of the New Jersey Statutes unless such vehicle is removed from operation until the receipt of such inspection sticker or other compliance.
(8) 
Where an owner or operator submits with an application any materially false or misleading statement.
B. 
The provisions set forth in this section shall be deemed to be conditions upon the license of the owner and operator hereunder. As a result, a violation of these conditions shall be deemed a violation of the conditions placed upon the license and thus grounds for automatic revocation without any further right of appeal or hearing. Notwithstanding the above, in the event grounds for revocation of an owner's license shall exist by reason of Subsection A(4), (6), (7) or (8) of this section, or in the event grounds for the revocation of an owner's or operator's license shall exist by reason of Subsection A(8) above, the Township shall first issue a summons to the owner or operator stating that the owner or operator has violated the conditions placed upon the license, and upon conviction thereof in municipal court, the owner's or operator's license shall be revoked in addition to any other fines and penalties which may be imposed under this chapter or under any other Township ordinance.

§ 354-7 License and application fees.

The license fees are fixed for the purpose of regulation and control and shall be paid annually, in the manner and amounts set forth below, to the Township as an application fee and for conducting or engaging in the business aforementioned.
A. 
The annual fee for a limousine owner's license and any renewals thereof shall be $50 per vehicle. In the event that an application for license is denied, the Township shall retain $50 as a nonrefundable application fee.
B. 
The annual fee for a taxicab owner's license and any renewals thereof shall be $250 per vehicle. In the event that an application for license is denied, the Township shall retain $50 as a nonrefundable application fee.
C. 
The annual fee for a each operator's license and any renewals thereof shall be $30. In the event that an application for license is denied, the Township shall retain $10 as a nonrefundable application fee, and the balance shall be returned to the applicant.
D. 
The applicant shall submit a separate certified or bank cashier's check in the amount set forth by the Division of State Police - S.B.I. for each person requiring a criminal background check with the fingerprint cards required pursuant to § 354-4B or C above.
E. 
If any license becomes lost or destroyed, a new license shall be furnished by the Township Clerk upon payment of the sum of $10.
F. 
Any owner may transfer an owner's license from a licensed vehicle to any other vehicle which meets the requirements of this chapter upon the payment of the sum of $25.

§ 354-8 Power of attorney.

A. 
The owner of each licensed limousine and each operator shall execute and deliver to the Township Clerk, concurrently with the filing of a policy or bond referred to in §§ 354-10 and 354-11 of this chapter, a power of attorney, wherein and whereby the owner and operator shall appoint the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles as his or her true and lawful attorney for the purpose of acknowledging service of any process from a court of competent jurisdiction to be served against the owner or operator by virtue of the indemnity granted under their insurance policy. The Township Clerk shall immediately forward said power of attorney to the Division of Motor Vehicles.
B. 
The owner of each licensed taxicab and each operator shall execute and deliver to the Township Clerk, concurrently with the filing of a policy or bond referred to in §§ 354-10 and 354-11 of this chapter, a power of attorney, wherein and whereby the owner and operator shall appoint the Chief Fiscal Officer of Independence Township as his or her true and lawful attorney for the purpose of acknowledging service of any process from a court of competent jurisdiction to be served against the owner or operator by virtue of the indemnity granted under their insurance policy.

§ 354-9 Number of taxicab owner's licenses.

A. 
No more than six taxicab owner's licenses shall be issued annually in accordance with this chapter.
B. 
No person shall be issued more than three taxicab owner's licenses.
C. 
No more than three taxicab owner's licenses shall be issued to persons having their principal place of business outside Independence Township.

§ 354-10 Insurance.

A. 
No limousine (or taxicab) owner's license shall be issued until the owner of the limousine files with the Township Clerk an insurance policy issued by a company duly licensed to transact business under the insurance laws of this state, conditioned for the payment of a sum of not less than $1,500,000 to satisfy all claims for damages, by reason of bodily injury to, or the death of, all persons, on account of any such accident, by reason of the ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of such limousine (or taxicab) upon any public street; and conditioned for the payment of a sum not less than $1,500,000 to satisfy any claim for damages to property of all persons, on account of any such accident, by reason of the ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of such limousine (or taxicab) upon any public street. Such insurance policy shall include coverage for all operators to be employed or otherwise hired by the applicant. The insurance policy shall be updated upon the hiring of any additional operators during any license term.
B. 
No taxicab owner's license shall be issued until the owner of the taxicab files with the Township Clerk an insurance policy issued by a company duly licensed to transact business under the insurance laws of this state, conditioned for the payment of a sum of not less than $300,000 to satisfy all claims for damages, by reason of bodily injury to, or the death of, all persons, on account of any such accident, by reason of the ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of such taxicab upon any public street; and conditioned for the payment of a sum not less than $300,000 to satisfy any claim for damages to property of all persons, on account of any such accident, by reason of the ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of such taxicab upon any public street. Such insurance policy shall include coverage for all operators to be employed or otherwise hired by the applicant. The insurance policy shall be updated upon the hiring of any additional operators during any license term.
C. 
The insurance policy shall provide for the payment of any final judgment recovered by any person on account of the ownership, maintenance, or use of the taxicab or limousine or any fault in respect thereto, and shall be for the benefit of every person suffering loss, damage or injury as aforesaid.
D. 
Any license issued pursuant to this chapter shall remain effective only so long as the insurance policy shall remain in force to the full and collectible amounts as required by this chapter. Failure to maintain insurance as provided herein shall constitute grounds for immediate revocation of any license granted hereunder, without notice or hearing.

§ 354-11 Certificate of compliance.

A. 
The Township Clerk, upon the filing of the required insurance policy or bond, shall issue a certificate in duplicate showing that the owner of the taxicab or limousine has complied with the terms and provisions of § 354-10. The certificate shall recite the name of the insurance company, the number and date of expiration of the policy, a description of the taxicab or limousine insured thereunder, and the registration number of the same. In lieu of the recital of insurance information, the owner of a taxi or limousine may affix to the original license a notarized letter from an insurance company containing the same insurance information required in the recital, which shall constitute proof of insurance coverage. The duplicate certificate shall be filed with the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles before any such vehicle is licensed as a taxicab or limousine. The original certificate or letter in lieu thereof shall be posted in a conspicuous place within the taxicab or limousine and be made available for inspection by customers and/or law enforcement personnel upon request.
B. 
In the event that a licensee operates in more than one municipality, the insurance policy shall be filed with the Township Clerk, who shall provide the owner with as many copies of the certificate of compliance as may be necessary for the owner to file said certificates with the Clerk of each municipality in which such operation takes place.

§ 354-12 Taximeter required.

All taxicabs shall be equipped with an accurate taximeter, which shall be fastened to the taxicab in such a manner as to be visible to all passengers at all times. Such taximeter shall display the rate at which passengers are charged, as well as the total amount of the cab fare as it accumulates. The Chief of Police is authorized to inspect any taximeter with or without cause to determine its accuracy. Nothing contained herein shall prevent an owner or operator from charging a prearranged flat fee, provided that the operator shall notify any passenger of the total amount of such flat fee prior to providing services hereunder.

§ 354-13 Taxicab display sign.

Each motor vehicle licensed as a taxicab shall have displayed on both sides thereof the words "taxi" or "cab" in letters at least six inches high or the name of the operating owner containing the words "taxi" or "cab" or "taxicab."

§ 354-14 Written trip record.

The owner of each vehicle licensed as a taxicab or limousine shall keep a written record of each trip made by the vehicle, showing the number of delivery trips made by that vehicle. Such records shall not be destroyed for one year and shall be kept within the Township and shall be presented upon the demand of the Chief of Police or Township Clerk for his or her inspection.

§ 354-15 Violations and penalties.

Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable by a fine not exceeding $500 or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not to exceed 90 days, or both. Except as otherwise provided, each and every day in which a violation of any provision of this chapter exists shall constitute a separate violation.