City of Somers Point, NJ
Atlantic County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Somers Point 9-14-2000 by Ord. No. 11-2000.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Mercantile licenses — See Ch. 174.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 250.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 231, Taxicabs, adopted 8-22-1985 by Ord. No. 21-1965 (Ch. 96 of 1967 compilation), as amended.

§ 231-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CITY
The City of Somers Point, Atlantic County, New Jersey, the governing body of which is the City Council of the city.
DRIVER
Any person who drives or operates a taxi which originates fare-generating services within the city.
LIMOUSINE
A limousine and other forms of conveyance, previously defined in state statutes as a livery or liveries, which are not regulated by this chapter so long as they are operated within the city exclusively as limousines (within the definition and meaning of P.L. 1999, c. 356, approved January 14, 2000), but such may be subject to the mercantile rules and ordinances of this city. A limousine may not advertise, solicit or otherwise seek to obtain business and fare-paying customers in the manner of a taxi, and to the extent that a limousine may do so in a manner not fitting the definition and meaning of P.L. 1999, c. 356 referenced above, it shall be considered a taxi subject to the regulation of this chapter. Limousines are intended to be charter-type or contract-type service as defined and within the meaning of P.L. 1999, c. 356 referenced above. Therefore, whenever a limousine owner or operator operates in the manner of a taxi within the City of Somers Point, that owner or operator must comply with the terms and conditions of this chapter.
OPERATION
Of a taxi, shall consist of transporting in such taxi one or more persons for hire along any of the streets in the city, accepting a passenger to be transported for hire within the city or from a point within the city to a point outside of the city. The driving or operation of a taxi as above described by one other than the owner shall be deemed operation by the owner thereof, as well as by the person actually driving the taxi. The transportation of any person other than the owner or driver in any motor vehicle bearing the sign therein or thereon using the words "taxi," "taxicab" or "cab" shall be prima facie evidence of operation of a taxi.
OWNER
Any person in whose name title to any taxi is registered with the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles or who appears in such record to be the conditional vendee or licensee thereof.
PERSON
Any individual, partnership, limited partnership, association, corporation or joint stock company, their lessees, trustees or receivers.
STREET
Includes any street, avenue, park, highway or other public roadway, whether or not the same is improved.
TAXI
Any autocab, automobile, motorcar or motor vehicle commonly called "taxi," duly licensed by the City of Somers Point and engaged in the business of carrying passengers for hire, which is held out, announced or advertised to operate or run or which is operated or run over any of the streets within the City of Somers Point and which accepts passengers for transportation from points or places within or without the city; provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall include or make this chapter applicable to limousines so long as they are operated within the city exclusively as limousines (within the definition and meaning of P.L. 1999, c. 356,[1] approved January 14, 2000), or other public conveyances including autobuses, buses, public liveries or jitneys, which are public conveyances, that are operated on designated routes and are by law exclusively subject to state and/or federal regulation.
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 48:16-13.

§ 231-2 Licenses.

There are hereby established two classes of taxi licenses, to be known as "taxi owner's license" and "taxi driver's license."
A. 
Taxi owner's license. A taxi owner's license shall entitle the individual licensed motor vehicle equipped as a taxi to pick up passengers within the city and to otherwise be lawfully operated anywhere within the city by a driver duly licensed hereunder and by the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles until either of said licenses expire or is surrendered, suspended or revoked. The taxi owner's license may be transferable to a successor owner but only with the consent and approval of City Council and only upon the application by the proposed new owner of a complete application, together with full compliance with the provisions of this chapter and favorable action by City Council at a regularly scheduled Council meeting at the discretion of City Council. A separate owner's license is required for each vehicle. Only the actual owner of the vehicle which is to be used as a taxi within the city may be the holder of the taxi owner's license regarding said taxi. The City Council may limit the total number of taxi owner's licenses, as set forth in § 231-17 of this chapter.
B. 
Taxi driver's license. A taxi driver's license shall entitle the person named therein to drive and operate within the city any taxi duly licensed hereunder and by the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles until either of said licenses expires or is surrendered, suspended or revoked and shall not be transferable. There shall be no limit to the number of taxi driver's licenses issued. After issuance of the license, the taxi driver shall display the license as described in § 231-8 hereof.

§ 231-3 Application for and issuance of licenses.

A. 
All applications for taxi owner's licenses and renewals thereof shall be in writing, on the form established by and as may be amended from time to time by the City Clerk, and shall contain at least the full name and address, date of birth, social security number and photocopy of the driver's license of the owner; the serial number, type, color, year and make of the taxi; the state vehicle registration card; proof of the existence of an insurance policy and coverage; number of doors on said vehicle; and the number of persons the vehicle can carry as passengers. The City Clerk may include such other requested information on the form as may, in his/her discretion, be required information deemed by the City Clerk as necessary for a complete and full application. An application for renewal of such license shall require all the same information and documents as an application for an initial license, which information and documents shall be current for the application licensing period. All applications shall be filed with the City Clerk who shall, prior to submitting the application to City Council for approval, receive proof from the applicant that the applicant is at least 18 years of age and a citizen of the United States. If the applicant is a corporation, such corporation must be organized and exist under the laws of the State of New Jersey and must present proof thereof, or if organized and existing under the laws of another state, it must be officially authorized to do business in the State of New Jersey, and the applicant must supply the name and address of the New Jersey registered agent for said corporation. No application shall be deemed by the City Clerk to be complete until the police investigation is completed and finished and other requirements of this chapter have been met, and no application shall be approved except after submission by the City Clerk to the City Council and until City Council's affirmative action on the application.
B. 
Each application for a taxi driver's license or renewal thereof shall be on the form provided by the City Clerk as referenced above, and the applicant shall provide thereon at least that same information required of owner applicants as may be applicable to individuals. An application for renewal of such license shall require all the same information and documents as an application for an initial license, which information and documents shall be current for the application licensing period. The applicant shall establish that he/she is a least 18 years of age and a citizen of the United States or lawfully a resident of the United States. Each applicant for a taxi driver's license shall also submit a certificate from a licensed physician of the State of New Jersey, at the applicant's expense, certifying that the applicant has been examined within the preceding 60 days and that the applicant has no infinity of body or mind or visual impairment or deficiency which could render the applicant unfit for the safe driving or operation of a taxi; said physician's certificate shall be presented at the time of the initial application and at the time of applications for renewals thereafter. Each applicant for a taxi driver's license shall also submit his/her certification of any traffic violations over the preceding five years, and the applicant shall also certify that he/she has sufficient knowledge of the city and state traffic regulations. There must also be furnished with the application three recent passport-type photographs of the applicant being not less than 1 1/4 inches in height by one inch in length. Two photographs are to be filed with each application and one is to be attached to the city-issued identification card referred to in § 231-8 of this chapter, which is to be displayed in a prominent place in the interior of the taxi driven by the applicant. Any application for a taxi driver's license or application for renewal thereof, once deemed complete by the City Clerk, shall be submitted to the city's Chief of Police for approval or nonapproval of the issuance of such a license or renewal thereof by the City Clerk. In the event of approval by the city's Chief of Police, the City Clerk may issue the license or renewal thereof. In the event of nonapproval by the city's Chief of Police, the applicant may, within 30 days of the date of nonapproval, appeal the nonapproval to a City Council Committee appointed by the City Council President to consider the appeal, which Committee shall then make its recommendation to City Council. Thereafter, the recommendation shall be submitted to City Council at the next regularly scheduled meeting for action.
C. 
No applicant for a taxi owner's license or taxi driver's license or renewal thereof shall submit any documentation on or with said application which is fraudulent, misleading or untrue nor shall any such applicant complete the application in a manner which is fraudulent, misleading or untrue.
D. 
All applications for taxi owner's license or renewal thereof shall be filed with the City Clerk, who shall submit said applications when deemed by him/her to be complete, and not until the completion of the investigation as required by § 231-15 and other requirements of this chapter, to City Council at the next regularly scheduled meeting for action.

§ 231-4 Insurance and indemnity requirement.

A. 
Each application for a taxi owner's license or renewal thereof shall be accompanied by proof of the issuance of a policy of insurance, with proof of the premium prepaid thereon, written by an insurance company duly licensed to transact business under the insurance laws of the State of New Jersey, which shall be submitted to the City Clerk. The City Attorney shall review and determine whether the proof of insurance is satisfactory as to form and sufficiency, and the application shall not be considered complete until that occurs. The proof of insurance shall name the city as an additional insured with the provision that notice is to be given immediately to the city in the event of cancellation of the policy for any reason. Cancellation of the policy shall cause immediate forfeiture and surrender of the license as provided in Subsection B below.
B. 
Such insurance policy shall be conditioned for payment of a sum as may be required and set from time to time by resolution by the City Council to satisfy all claims for damage by reason of bodily injury to, or the death of, all persons or property damage, which sum shall be not less than the minimum insurance required by State Motor Vehicle Laws and Regulations issued thereunder and the various provisions of N.J.S.A. 48:16-1 through N.J.S.A. 48:16-12. For purposes of the initial sum applicable to this section, said minimum sum shall be not less than $500,000. Upon request, the City Clerk of the City of Somers Point shall issue the certificate of compliance required by N.J.S.A. 48:16-6, but only after all procedures referenced in this chapter and approval by City Council have occurred. The policy of insurance shall provide coverage for every driver of each vehicle listed in the policy. A taxi owner's license shall be deemed to have been suspended on receipt of a notice of cancellation of the insurance policy and shall be deemed forfeited and surrendered if sufficient proof is not supplied to the City Clerk that the cancellation notice is rescinded and/or that the policy is renewed or replaced within 30 days after the cancellation notice date.
C. 
The issuance of the taxi owner's license by the city shall be deemed to constitute an agreement by and between the applicant and the city that the applicant agrees to indemnify and hold the city harmless from any and all claims from damages arising out of personal injury and/or property damage made by third parties as the result of or incidental to the issuance of said license and the driving or operation of a taxi.

§ 231-5 Power of attorney and indemnification agreement.

No taxi owner's or driver's license shall be issued until the applicant therefore shall have delivered to the City Clerk concurrently with the filing of the application and insurance policy referred to herein a power of attorney executed by said applicant wherein and whereby the applicant shall appoint the City Clerk for the city as his, her or its true and lawful attorney for the purpose of acknowledging service of any process out of a Court of competent jurisdiction to be served against the applicant. In addition, each applicant shall execute and deliver a signed and dated agreement which holds the city harmless and by which the applicant agrees to completely indemnify the city for all costs and expenses incurred for any claim arising out of the applicant's ownership or operation of a taxi in the city.

§ 231-6 Revocation or suspension of licenses.

The license issuing authority under this chapter shall be City Council, except that the City Clerk shall exercise City Council's authority as City Council's designee with respect only to taxi driver's licenses and as limited by the provisions of § 231-3B of this chapter. The license issuing authority may in its/his/her discretion refuse to issue a license for any reason set forth below. In addition, pursuant to § 231-4B of this chapter dealing with required insurance and prospective or actual cancellation thereof, no license holder shall be entitled to notice of or a hearing before suspension or forfeiture of the license thereunder. In all other instances regarding a license holder or applicant for a renewal, City Council may, after notice and hearing to a license holder or applicant for a renewal, refuse renewal or suspend or revoke any license issued under the provisions of this chapter if any of the following occur:
A. 
An applicant or license holder has violated any provision of this chapter.
B. 
An applicant or license holder has been convicted of any crime, disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense in this or any other state.
C. 
An applicant or license holder has been convicted of a violation of Title 39 of the statutes of the State of New Jersey.
D. 
An applicant or license holder has any judgment unsatisfied of record arising out of any automobile accident, whether the same involved a taxi or otherwise.
E. 
An applicant or license holder has submitted any document or information which is false or contains misleading information, including any document or information submitted as part of an application for an owner's license or as part of an application for a driver's license pursuant to this chapter or any renewal thereof.
F. 
An applicant or license holder has otherwise not complied with the licensing requirements of this chapter.
G. 
An applicant or license holder has, in any degree, contributed to any injury to a person or damaged property arising out of the negligent driving or operation of any taxi licensed to or operated by said individual.
H. 
An applicant or license holder owns, drives or operates a taxi that does not meet or is not maintained at the minimum required levels of safety and operational maintenance proscribed by the Department of Motor Vehicles, or that does not meet the required criteria pertaining to safety and mechanical or other defects as found in § 231-10 of this chapter.
I. 
An applicant or license holder owns, drives or operates a taxi that does not provide consistent, reliable and adequate taxi service to public users in the city, or that does not meet the required criteria pertaining to appearance as found in § 231-10 of this chapter.

§ 231-7 Fare; display; filing of fare list; passenger rights; records and logs.

A. 
No taxi shall be driven or operated in the city unless and until there is prominently displayed in the interior thereof, within full view and access of any passenger therein, a complete list of maximum fares, charges or tariff rates charged for the transportation of passengers, which fares, charges or tariff rates so displayed shall be the maximum fares to be charged to any passenger so transported, and no fares, rates or tariffs in excess thereof shall be charged. Each taxi owner shall file it's list of maximum fares sought to be charged with the City Clerk, and no fares, rates or tariffs in excess thereof shall be charged unless and until so filed. Nothing above shall prohibit the charging of a fare, rate or tariff less than the maximum so displayed and filed.
B. 
No taxi shall at any time carry more passengers than there are seats provided for such passengers. The vehicle passenger seat capacity shall be designated on the taxi owner's license, and the proper insurance coverage shall be provided for such vehicle. No taxi shall be licensed under this chapter to carry more than nine passengers.
C. 
Every driver of a licensed taxi shall have the right to demand payment of the legal fare in advance and may refuse employment unless so prepaid. No driver of such licensed taxi shall otherwise refuse or neglect to convey any orderly person or persons upon request anywhere in the city unless previously engaged or unable to do so. No driver of any such taxi shall carry any other person than the first passenger employing him without the consent of said first passenger.
D. 
Every holder of a taxi owner's license shall require the driver of the taxi to keep a daily log record identified by the cab number of the taxi used and the license number of the taxi driver, which shall include the time and place when and where a passenger was accepted, the time and place of discharge and the fare charged. Such records shall be kept for at least one year, shall be open at all times for inspection by the City Clerk and any duly authorized law enforcement officer and shall be produced by the license holder at the municipal facilities office of the City Clerk or Chief of Police for inspection within 48 hours of such request by the City Clerk or Chief of Police.

§ 231-8 Taxi and driver identification.

A. 
Taxi interior. There shall be affixed in every licensed taxi, in such manner that the same can be conveniently read by any person in the taxi, a card supplied by the city at the time of licensing, at least three inches in height by at least five inches in length, containing the name of the owner, the license number of the vehicle, the year of issuance and the number of passengers that can be lawfully transported in said taxi.
B. 
Taxi exterior. Every licensed taxi shall have displayed a printed legend on the outside of the taxi, on both sides thereof, stating the word "taxi," "cab," or "taxicab," in letters at least four inches in height, as well as the name under which the licensed taxi owner is operating said vehicle, or in the alternative, shall have on top of each taxi a sign at least 12 inches in width by six inches in height made of plastic on which there shall be the word "taxi", or the name of the company in black letters. The sign shall be illuminated by a white bulb when the taxi is in service. Each licensed taxi shall also display as and where directed by the City Clerk any medallion or insignia issued to it for external identification as a city-licensed taxi, and the absence of display of such issued medallion or insignia shall constitute a violation of this chapter.
C. 
Taxi driver. Each driver of a licensed taxi shall have displayed in a prominent place in the interior of the taxi the individual taxi driver's license, with photo affixed, as issued to him or her by the city.

§ 231-9 Passenger pick up and discharge; hours of service.

A. 
A driver of a licensed taxi shall not receive or discharge passengers in the roadways, but shall pull up to the right-hand sidewalk as near as possible, or, in the absence of a sidewalk, to the extreme right-hand side of the road and there receive or discharge passengers, except upon one-way streets where passengers may be received or discharged on either the right- or left-hand sidewalk or side of the roadway.
B. 
Every licensed taxi shall be operated or ready and available for year-round use by passengers for at least six days of each week for at least eight hours of every day; provided, however, that this section shall not apply when the vehicle is temporarily withdrawn from service because of necessary repairs, which temporary withdrawal shall not exceed one month.

§ 231-10 Taxi and driver appearance; fire extinguishers; compliance with New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicle laws.

A. 
The owner or driver of each licensed taxi operating in the city shall keep the taxi in good running order so that it makes a presentable appearance and affords comfortable and safe rides to passengers and remains free from mechanical defects or other defects which could affect the safety of the passengers. Each licensed taxi driver shall be fully clothed, must wear a shirt and shoes and make a presentable and clean appearance to the public.
B. 
Each licensed taxi must, at all times, have at least four flares and an approved and serviceable fire extinguisher.
C. 
Each licensed taxi must, at all times, have a current New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles inspection, registration and insurance card as proof of insurance. The owner of each taxi shall have each taxi presented to the Chief of Police or his designated police officer prior to issuance or renewal of the taxi owner's license, and thereafter upon request of the Chief of Police or his designated police officer, so that it may be inspected to determine compliance with the provisions of this chapter.

§ 231-11 Passenger information and transport; passenger capacity.

A. 
No owner or driver of any licensed taxi shall induce any person to employ him by knowingly misinforming or misleading any such person as to time and place of the arrival or departure of any regularly schedule mode of transportation or as to the location of any hotel, motel, public place or private residence within this city; nor shall any such owner or driver deceive any person or make false representations to any person or convey any passenger to any other place or any street other than that which the passenger may have instructed the driver to go. Every owner and/or driver shall be responsible to see to it that all passengers are carried in a safe and responsible manner and by using a reasonable and direct route from point of origin to point of destination.
B. 
No licensed taxi shall, at any time, carry more passengers than the vehicle is designed or licensed for, but in no event shall any one taxi carry more than five passengers, plus the driver, unless such taxi is specifically licensed for additional passengers.

§ 231-12 License fees and renewal and transfer.

A. 
The annual taxi owner's license shall be as set forth in Ch. 174, Mercantile Licenses, per taxi. The license shall be effective for a period from 12:00:01 a.m. January 1, 2001, to 11:59:59 p.m. September 30, 2001, but for each year thereafter the licensing period shall commence 12:00:01 a.m. October 1 and terminate 11:59:59 p.m. September 30. No fee shall be prorated for the initial period of January 1, 2001, to September 30, 2001.
B. 
There shall be an administrative transfer fee as set forth in Ch. 174, Mercantile Licenses, for the application for each and every transfer of any taxi owner's license during any licensing period.
C. 
There shall be an administrative fee as set forth in Ch. 174, Mercantile Licenses, for the issuance of a taxi owner's license for replacing that vehicle originally licensed.
D. 
The cost of initial issuance or replacement of any medallion or insignia issued by the city shall be charged at cost.
E. 
The annual taxi driver's license shall be as set forth in Ch. 174, Mercantile Licenses, per licensing period. The license shall be effective for the same licensing periods referenced in Subsection A above.
F. 
All licenses currently in effect and in good standing as of the effective date of this chapter shall, subject to the provisions of this chapter, remain in effect through 11:59:59 p.m. December 31, 2000, without payment of any new fee required by this chapter. For the initial new licensing period under this chapter which commences 12:00:01 a.m. January 1, 2001, all license holders in good standing immediately prior thereto, and who are in compliance with the provisions of this chapter, shall have the right to have their licenses considered for renewal before consideration of issuance of licenses to new applicants who were not license holders in good standing immediately precedent to the new license period. Likewise, for each new license period thereafter, all license holders in good standing immediately prior thereto, and who are in compliance with the provisions of this chapter, shall have the right to have their licenses considered for renewal before consideration of issuance of licenses to new applicants who were not license holders in good standing immediately precedent to the new license period. No license holder shall, however, be considered to be in good standing unless the license holder has fully complied with all the provisions of this chapter, including the filing of a complete application for renewal of license at least 30 days prior to the new license period.
G. 
No applicant filing a complete license application or renewal license application after the commencement of any license period shall be entitled to any proration of fees.

§ 231-13 Violations and penalties.

Every person, firm or corporation found guilty in a Municipal Court or other Court of competent jurisdiction of violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be liable to pay a fine of not more than $1,000 and/or be imprisoned for a period not to exceed 90 days or as may otherwise be provided for in the conviction of a petty disorderly offense in Title 2C of the Revised New Jersey Statutes. Each succeeding day of violation may be construed as a new violation. One violation of any part of this Chapter in any license period shall entitle City Council to hold a hearing to determine whether such taxi owner's or taxi driver's license should be suspended or revoked. Two violations of any part of this chapter within any license period shall entitle City Council to require forfeiture and surrender of any and all taxi owner's licenses or taxi driver's license owned by a licensee without a hearing.

§ 231-14 No exemption.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to exempt any person, firm or corporation owning, driving or operating a taxi from complying with the laws relating to the ownership, regulation and operation of automobiles or motor vehicles in the State of New Jersey.

§ 231-15 Investigations and inspections.

No application for a taxi owner's license or renewal thereof shall be submitted to City Council for approval until such time as the application has been deemed by the City Clerk to be complete and the applicant has completed all application requirements; and has executed a form of consent and release so as to permit the Chief of Police or his designated police officer to conduct such investigation of criminal and driving records as may be required in order to determine that the applicant substantially complies with the meaning, intent and purpose of this chapter; and has had the taxi which is the subject of a taxi owner's license application inspected for safety and passed for same by the city's Chief of Police or his designated police officer.

§ 231-16 Taxi owner's responsibilities and penalties.

In the event that a taxi is driven or operated by a person who does not have a taxi driver's license, as defined in this chapter, both the driver and the owner of the taxi shall be subject for such offense to the penalty provisions as are set forth in § 231-13 of this chapter. In addition, in the event that an unlicensed taxi is driven or operated in violation of any of the terms and conditions of this Chapter, both the owner and the driver of the vehicle shall be subject for such offense or offenses to the penalty provisions as are set forth in § 231-13 of this chapter.

§ 231-17 Limited number of licenses.

Except as may be permitted by City Council pursuant to § 231-18, not more than 12 taxi owner's licenses shall be issued during any licensing period and not more than six taxi owner's licenses may be owned and operated by any one individual, firm or corporation during any licensing period.

§ 231-18 Resale of surrendered, forfeited or revoked taxi owner's licenses; surrender required for nonuse.

A. 
Whenever a license is surrendered, forfeited or revoked, the City Council shall have the option of retiring said license in the current licensing period so that the same may not be used in the current licensing period or holding an auction for said license and awarding the same to the highest bidder after the receipt of sealed bids at a scheduled and announced bid opening. The minimum bid for such license shall be established by City Council, but in no event shall it be less than the then existing taxi owner's license fee. When any surrendered, forfeited or revoked taxi owner's license is offered for resale by the city, the applicant shall, in addition, pay the taxi owner's license fee then in effect. No deduction shall be given for any portion of any licensing period which may have been used up at the time of the application for said taxi owner's license.
B. 
If any taxi owner's license is inactive for a period of 60 days after its issuance, it shall be deemed to have been surrendered and forfeited to the city. An inactive license is one which is issued but for which no taxi is operating within the city pursuant to the provisions of this chapter or for which no vehicle is licensed or for which no vehicle is insured or for which no vehicle otherwise complies with the provisions of this chapter for a period of 60 days.

§ 231-19 Dispatching.

No person or entity that owns, drives or operates a taxi in the city shall have the dispatching operations located at or otherwise operate out of a residential property within the city.

§ 231-20 No parking on streets or in residential zones.

Any taxi parked in the city must be parked in an adequate off-street parking area located within a permissible commercial zone within the city. No taxi, whether licensed by the city or another municipality, or any unlicensed taxi, shall be parked on or in any street, boulevard, avenue, road, highway, cul-de-sac, alley or other area of public travel within the city except for the temporary purpose of picking up or dropping off passengers. This section is specifically intended to prohibit the parking of any taxi in the City of Somers Point in any district, whether it be residential or commercial, except in an adequate off-street parking area located within a permissible commercial zone within the city, and except for the stated purpose of temporarily picking up or dropping off passengers. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a taxi licensed in the city from being parked and/or stored in another municipality.