City of Rensselaer, NY
Rensselaer County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Rensselaer 7-3-1984;[1] amended in its entirety 4-4-2012 by L.L. No. 2-2012. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
CHARTER REFERENCES
Licensing occupations — See § 86.
GENERAL REFERENCES
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 169.
[1]
Editor's Note: An ordinance adopted 9-19-1984 amended this ordinance by providing that it take effect 11-1-1984.

§ 159-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following words shall have the meanings set forth in this section:
AMTRAK TAXICAB CONCESSION
The contract or other agreement between the owner and/or operator of the train station located within the City of Rensselaer [commonly known as the "Amtrak Station," currently owned and operated by the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA)] and the successful bidder for the taxicab concession.
CHIEF OF POLICE
The person charged with the enforcement of this chapter.
CITY CLERK
The person charged with the administration of this chapter.
HACK LICENSE
A permit granted by the City Clerk to any person to drive a licensed taxicab for hire within the limits of the City of Rensselaer.
OPERATOR
Any person owning or having control of the use of one or more taxicabs used for hire upon the streets of the City of Rensselaer or engaged in the business of operating a taxicab.
OWNER
Any person, firm, partnership or corporation in whose name the New York State registration for a taxicab is issued pursuant to the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York.
RESTRICTED TAXICAB LICENSE
A license to operate a taxicab for the sole purpose of carrying out the obligations of the Amtrak taxicab concession.
TAXICAB
A motor vehicle, the use of which is regulated by this chapter, to carry passengers for hire within the limits of the City of Rensselaer, not operated on a fixed route, designed and constructed so as to seat seven persons or less, not including the driver, and registered for such use pursuant to the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York.
TAXICAB DRIVER
Any person who drives a taxicab.
TAXICAB LICENSE
A permit granted by the City Clerk to operate or keep for hire any taxicab within the limits of the City of Rensselaer.

§ 159-2 Licensing of taxicabs.

The City Clerk is hereby empowered to issue taxicab licenses in the City of Rensselaer. No taxicab shall be operated within the limits of the City of Rensselaer unless the owner thereof shall have been issued a taxicab license by such City Clerk; provided, however, that a taxicab properly licensed by another governmental subdivision may terminate a trip within the limits of the City of Rensselaer if such trip commenced outside the limits of such City. For the purposes of such taxicabs not licensed in the City of Rensselaer, there shall be kept a log of all trips made into the City and back outside the City limits. Said log shall delineate the place where each such fare begins, the place where said fare is discharged and the time the taxicab arrives at each of the aforementioned places.

§ 159-3 License required; term; transferability; display.

A. 
No owner, operator or taxicab driver shall maintain, operate, garage, store or keep for hire any taxicab in the City of Rensselaer without first having obtained from the City Clerk a taxicab license for each taxicab so maintained, operated, garaged, stored or kept for hire, and no such license shall be issued except upon compliance with the provisions of this chapter and satisfactory proof of compliance with the provisions of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York.
B. 
All taxicab licenses issued pursuant to this chapter shall be for a term of one year and shall expire on the last day of January following which such licenses were issued, and such licenses shall be renewed every year on the first day of February.
C. 
No taxicab license shall be assigned or transferred except upon written application to the City Clerk, setting forth the purpose, terms and conditions of such assignment or transfer. Upon proof of compliance by the assignee or transferee with all the provisions of this chapter, the City Clerk may approve such assignment or transfer.
D. 
Change of ownership of or title to any taxicab shall automatically revoke any license previously granted for the maintenance, operation, garaging, storing or keeping for hire of such taxicab, and the new owner or any person, firm or corporation claiming title or any other right under such new owner may not maintain, operate, garage, store or keep for hire such taxicab until he has applied for and been granted a new license in the manner provided in this chapter.
E. 
Whenever an owner or operator sells or transfers title to a vehicle used as a taxicab, for which a taxicab license has been granted, or such vehicle shall be destroyed or become unusable, and within 30 days after such sale, transfer or destruction, such owner or operator purchases or acquires another taxicab as a replacement of the taxicab so sold, transferred or destroyed, the City Clerk shall, upon written application of such owner or operator filed within 30 days of such replacement purchase, issue a new taxicab license for such replacement taxicab, provided that such owner or operator is in compliance with all the provisions of this chapter.
F. 
All taxicab licenses issued pursuant to this chapter shall be displayed on or in the licensed taxicab by such means and in such manner as the Chief of Police shall direct.

§ 159-4 Suspension or revocation of license; hearing.

A. 
A taxicab license may be suspended or revoked by the Chief of Police upon written specification of the charge against the licensee, served personally on the licensee or his agent or by certified mail addressed to the licensee at the address provided by the licensee on the license application, and after a hearing before the Common Council of the City of Rensselaer, at which the licensee shall be entitled to counsel, for the following reasons:
(1) 
The Chief of Police finds the owner's record for honesty, integrity, legality and compliance with this chapter to be unsatisfactory.
(2) 
The licensee charges or suffers to be charged a rate of fare exceeding that established by the Common Council.
(3) 
The licensee, in the sole discretion of the Chief of Police, fails to provide adequate service to customers and patrons within the City of Rensselaer.
(4) 
The licensed vehicle fails to meet safety standards established by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, or such vehicle is maintained in such a manner as to pose a threat to the health or safety of patrons.
B. 
In the event that a license is suspended or revoked as in this section provided, the owner of a taxicab license may demand a hearing before the Common Council of the City of Rensselaer, which hearing shall be held not less than 20 days after request therefor at a regular or special meeting of the Common Council of the City of Rensselaer. The decision of the Common Council of the City of Rensselaer on the reinstatement or denial of reinstatement of said license shall be final and binding upon the licensee and the City. Any request for a hearing pursuant to this section must be made in writing and addressed to the President of the Common Council, City Hall, Rensselaer, New York, within five days after receipt of a notice of suspension or revocation from the Chief of Police.

§ 159-5 Application for license.

An application for a taxicab license shall be filed with the City Clerk in triplicate, on forms provided by the City Clerk, which application shall be signed and sworn to by the applicant and contain the following information:
A. 
The name and address of the owner and, in the event the owner is a partnership or operating under an assumed name, attaching to the application a certified copy of the certificate of partnership and/or an assumed name, filed with the County Clerk, and, in the event that the owner is a corporation, furnishing the names and addresses of all of the corporate officers and stockholders.
B. 
The number of taxicabs actually registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles for which license application is made, stating the make, type, year of manufacture, serial number, engine number and passenger seating capacity of each such taxicab.
C. 
Whether the applicant has been previously licensed as a taxicab owner and, if so, in what jurisdictions.
D. 
Whether the applicant's license for a taxicab has ever been suspended or revoked and, if so, for what cause.
E. 
A statement that neither the applicant nor any officer, director, stockholder or person directly or indirectly interested in the application was the former holder of or was an officer, director, stockholder or partner in a corporation or a partnership which was the former holder of a taxicab license which had been revoked or suspended.
F. 
A statement that neither the applicant nor any officer, director, stockholder, partner, employee nor any other person directly or indirectly interested in the application has been convicted of a felony or any crime involving violence, dishonesty, deceit, indecency, degeneracy, gambling, crime involving moral turpitude or the illegal use, sale or possession of drugs.
G. 
Such other information as the City Clerk may deem necessary. Any misrepresentation of a material fact in an application will be grounds for immediate denial of an application or subsequent revocation of a license.

§ 159-6 License fee.

The owner of each taxicab who is granted a license shall pay to the City of Rensselaer the sum of $100 for each cab so licensed. Such license fee shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other license fee or charge established by proper authority and applicable to taxicabs in this City.

§ 159-7 Inspection.

No vehicle shall be licensed until it has been thoroughly and carefully inspected and examined and found to be in a thoroughly safe condition for the transportation of passengers. The Chief of Police shall refuse a license to, or, if already issued, revoke or suspend a license of, any vehicle found by him or someone designated by him to be unfit or unsuited for public patronage.
A. 
Mechanical and physical inspection.
(1) 
A vehicle shall not pass a mechanical inspection unless it is in a thoroughly safe condition for the transportation of passengers and in good repair. A mechanical inspection shall include, but not be limited to, a review of the following items: brakes, tires, steering, shock absorbers and springs, lights, windshield, mirrors, windshield wipers, horn, fuel inlet restrictor, and speedometer.
(2) 
A vehicle shall not pass a physical inspection unless it is free of excessive auto body and paint damage, clean, fit, uniform in color, of good appearance and in a thoroughly safe condition. A physical inspection shall include, but not be limited to, a review of the following items: interior upholstery, floorboards, door handles, windows, locks, lights, tires, body damage, rust, paint, spare tire, jack, lugs and lug wrench, directional signals and safety flares.
B. 
The mechanical inspection shall be performed at a New York State Department of Motor Vehicles authorized inspection station. An authorized mechanic shall certify that the vehicle meets the standards of condition, safety, cleanliness and mechanical order as provided in this chapter. The physical inspection shall be performed by the designee of the Chief of Police.
C. 
The Chief of Police shall have the right to inspect or cause to be inspected all taxicabs from time to time, or on the complaint of any citizen, for the purpose of determining the condition and fitness of same for public use, and if any such taxicab shall be found to be unsafe or unsuitable for use, the Chief of Police shall be empowered to cancel the taxicab license of such taxicab and shall serve upon the owner thereof a written notification of cancellation stating the facts upon which such cancellation is based.

§ 159-8 Maintenance and required apparatus.

A. 
Cleanliness of vehicle. Every holder of a taxicab license shall at all times keep the inside of the cab operated by him in a clean and sanitary condition and shall at least once each day thoroughly clean the inside of such taxicab.
B. 
Carriage of infected persons. No taxicab shall be used to convey any person infected with a contagious disease. Should it be found by the owner or driver that a taxicab has been so used, he shall immediately report the fact to the county health authorities, and such vehicle shall not again be used until it has been thoroughly cleaned and fumigated under the direction of the county health authorities.
C. 
Windows. Every owner of taxicab shall provide windows in the passenger portion of each taxicab sufficient in number and of such size and dimension that at all times persons may be readily seen through such windows with sufficient distinctness to identify such persons.
D. 
Use of chains or snow tires. Every owner of a taxicab shall furnish for each such vehicle, and every driver shall use, chains or snow tires on both rear wheels of such vehicle from November 1 to April 1 of each year.
E. 
Locks on doors. No owner or driver of a taxicab shall at any time so fasten or lock the doors on a taxicab that it is impossible for a passenger to open the same from the inside. Every owner shall provide means for unfastening doors on taxicabs so that such doors may be readily opened on the inside by a passenger.

§ 159-9 Identification.

The Chief of Police is hereby empowered, in the exercise of his discretion, to require owners and operators of taxicabs licensed hereunder to display distinctive colors, emblems, signs or other devices on each taxicab licensed hereunder in order to provide prospective passengers an opportunity to differentiate between taxicabs owned or controlled by such owners and operators.

§ 159-10 Limitation of number.

A. 
This Council deems it in the public interest to limit to 10 the number of taxicabs which may be licensed for operation within the City, and the City Clerk shall not issue taxicab licenses in excess of that number, nor shall there be any such licenses in excess of that number valid and outstanding at any time.
B. 
The Common Council may from time to time amend by resolution this chapter to provide for the increase or decrease in the issuance of taxicab licenses after a determination that a public convenience and necessity requires such action.

§ 159-11 Stands.

A. 
The Chief of Police is hereby authorized to locate and designate taxicab stands, and the Chief of Police shall designate the number of taxicabs that shall be allowed to park or stand at any of the places designated by him as taxicab stands, and the Chief of Police shall cause to be posted suitable signs at each taxicab stand designating the location as a taxicab stand and stating the number of taxicabs allowed at such designated taxicab stand at any one time.
B. 
A prospective passenger may select any taxicab in line at a taxicab stand without regard to the order in which the taxicabs are standing.

§ 159-12 Hack license requirements, procedures and fee.

A. 
Each applicant for a hack license must comply with the following requirements:
(1) 
Be the holder of a duly valid chauffeur license issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles of the State of New York.
(2) 
Be at least 18 years of age.
(3) 
Be of sound mind and body and not subject to epilepsy, vertigo, heart disease or any other infirmity of mind or body which might render the applicant incapable or unfit to safely operate a motor vehicle.
(4) 
Be able to read and write the English language.
(5) 
Be clean in dress and person and not addicted to the use of either intoxicating liquor or the use of drugs.
(6) 
Be a person of good character and reputation who has not been convicted of a felony nor any offense involving violence, dishonesty, deceit, indecency, degeneracy, moral turpitude, driving while under the influence of alcohol, gambling or illegal use, sale or possession of drugs.
(7) 
Must produce evidence to show that applicant has never been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in any jurisdiction or such violations of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York that would, in the sole discretion of the Chief of Police, constitute a threat to the public safety.
B. 
The application for a hack license shall be submitted to the City Clerk on such form or forms as shall be required by him, and the information provided by the application shall be sworn to or given under the penalties of perjury. The application shall also include:
(1) 
Three untouched photographs of such size as may be prescribed by the Chief of Police taken within 30 days of the date of filing of the application.
(2) 
The fingerprinting of the applicant by the Police Department of the City of Rensselaer and the set of fingerprints which accompany the application shall be kept on file at the office of the Chief of Police as a permanent record. The Chief of Police shall cause an investigation to be made relative to the character and criminal record, if any, of every application.
(3) 
A consent signed by the applicant, on a form provided by the City Clerk, permitting any person to divulge and report to the Chief of Police any matter which might, without such consent, be deemed confidential.
(4) 
An incomplete application shall be automatically denied until a full and completed application is submitted.
C. 
The Chief of Police shall be authorized to require an applicant to submit their fingerprint to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services for a criminal background investigation. Fingerprints will be submitted according to DCJS policies and procedures and applicant shall be responsible for all fees to process fingerprints.
D. 
The Chief of Police may designate police personnel to oversee the background investigation process to include the scheduling of fingerprinting through DCJS. Fingerprinting shall be mandatory upon a new application and every three years of continuous renewal. The Chief of Police may require an additional background investigation to include fingerprinting anytime within that three-year period if he believes the applicant has been involved in criminal activity.
E. 
If a hack license has been expired for more than 60 days, the licensee must then apply for said license as a new applicant and not a renewal.

§ 159-13 Investigation of hack license applicant.

A. 
After receipt of an application, the Chief of Police shall institute an investigation of the applicant. No license shall be issued under the provisions of this chapter until the Chief of Police has indicated, in writing, his approval thereof after his investigation has been completed.
B. 
If required by the City Clerk, the applicant shall submit a certificate from a duly licensed physician certifying that he has examined the applicant within 30 days prior to the filing date of the application and, in his opinion, said applicant is not afflicted with any disease or physical or mental condition or infirmity which might make the applicant an unsafe or unsatisfactory driver of a taxicab.
C. 
No license shall be issued under the provisions of this chapter until the filing in writing by the Chief of Police of a report showing the results of the investigation and examination of fingerprint impressions; provided, however, that a temporary license may, in the sole discretion of Chief of Police, be issued pending such investigation, not to exceed 20 days; provided, further, that the Chief of Police shall have the power and authority to refuse a license of any person who has been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor or any violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law which, in the sole discretion of the Chief of Police, is detrimental to the public safety and general welfare of the citizenry.

§ 159-14 Issuance and display of hack license and badge.

A. 
Upon the written approval by the Chief of Police of the application for the driver's license in accordance with the foregoing procedures, the City Clerk is empowered to issue a hack license to the applicant. The license shall be in a form to be prescribed by the City Clerk and shall contain thereon a photograph of the licensee, the signature of the licensee and his thumbprint. Such license shall be rendered invalid if defaced, altered or obliterated in any way or if any entry is made thereon by other than the City Clerk or by a person duly authorized and designated by him. Such license shall be valid for a period of one year and shall expire on the last day of the 12th month following the month in which the license was issued, unless sooner suspended or revoked. Concurrent with the issuance of a hack license, as aforesaid, there shall be issued to such approved applicant a hack badge of such material, form and style as the City Clerk may prescribe, with the license number imprinted thereon, which shall be the same number as on the hack license issued hereunder.
B. 
The hack license is to be displayed in a conspicuous place in the taxicab so as to be seen by the passenger or passengers, and the badge shall be displayed on the right upper portion of the licensee's outer clothing.

§ 159-15 Renewal of hack license.

A. 
A hack license shall be renewable upon compliance with the foregoing provisions of this chapter relating to hack licenses, provided that the application is filed not less than 30 days nor more than 60 days prior to expiration of current license on a form supplied by the City Clerk.
B. 
The City Clerk shall, upon application for renewal, be empowered in his discretion to waive any or all of the foregoing requirements for licensure.

§ 159-16 Hack license fees.

A. 
The City Clerk is authorized to collect a fee of $150 upon the issuance of each hack license and $100 for the renewal of any hack license.
B. 
In the event that a license or badge has been lost, destroyed or stolen or otherwise requires replacement, application for replacement shall be made to the City Clerk who, upon satisfactory proof, shall issue another license and badge upon payment of the fee of $25 by cash, certified check or money order payable to the City of Rensselaer.

§ 159-17 Limitation of number of hack licenses; attendance records.

A. 
This Council in the public interest does hereby determine that no more than 100 hack licenses shall be outstanding and valid on and after the effective date of this chapter.
B. 
Every licensed operator or owner hereunder shall maintain accurate records concerning the attendance at work of all persons holding a hack license and shall report to the City Clerk the failure on the part of any holder of a hack license to use such license in his employment for a period longer than 90 days. Such failure shall be prima facie justification for a revocation by the Chief of Police of the hack license issued to such person.

§ 159-18 Zones and fares.

A. 
Zones. The City of Rensselaer is hereby divided into taxicab zones bounded as follows:
(1) 
Zone 1: bounded on the north by McNaughton Avenue, on the south by the southerly City line, on the east by the easterly City line and on the west by the westerly City line.
(2) 
Zone 2: bounded on the north by I-90, on the south by McNaughton Avenue, on the east by the easterly City line and on the west by the westerly City line.
(3) 
Zone 3: bounded on the north by the northerly City line, on the south by I-90, on the east by the easterly City line and on the west by the westerly City line.
B. 
Fares; maximum rates. The maximum rate that may be charged by owners or operators of taxicabs for transportation of one passenger within the City of Rensselaer shall not exceed $5 for transportation within one zone and shall not exceed an additional $1 for transportation within each additional zone. The maximum rate for transportation of more than one passenger shall be the rate set forth above, plus an additional $1 for each passenger in excess of one. On Sundays and holidays, the total fare charged may be increased by the sum of $1, and between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., exclusive of Sundays and holidays, the total fare charged may be increased by the sum of $1.
C. 
Maps and schedules.
(1) 
A printed notice of current taxicab rates and zones as promulgated by this Council shall be supplied by the City Clerk to each owner or operator, which notice shall be conspicuously displayed in the interior and on the exterior of every cab operating in the City.
(2) 
A map of the City of Rensselaer depicting the zones heretofore established shall be kept on file in the office of the City Clerk and shall be available for public inspection.

§ 159-19 Revision of fares and surcharges.

The foregoing fares and surcharges shall be charged on and after the effective date of this chapter, and such fares and surcharges shall be subject to revision by action of this Council upon good cause shown. This Council may enact such revisions, with or without public hearings, by resolution or by amendment of this chapter.

§ 159-20 Maintenance of records.

A. 
Each owner or operator of a taxicab licensed pursuant to this chapter shall keep or cause to be kept a legible record of every trip for which a fare or surcharge is collected. Such record shall include information as to the date, time of day, point of origin and point of destination for each such trip, the number of passengers and the fare charged and such other information as the Chief of Police, in his discretion, may require.
B. 
Such records shall be made immediately available to the Chief of Police, upon his request, for inspection and copying by the Chief of Police or any duly authorized representative of the Police Department of the City of Rensselaer, and such records shall be preserved by such owners and operators for a period of one year from the date upon which such record is made.

§ 159-21 Disputed fares.

In the event that there is a dispute between a taxicab operator and a passenger with respect to a fare, the taxicab operator is permitted to immediately submit the question to the desk officer at police headquarters, and said officer shall then determine the amount of the fare. If the passenger then makes the payment according to the amount determined by said police officer, the passenger shall be given a receipt by the taxicab operator for the amount paid, which shall be witnessed by the police officer, and the police officer shall make a memorandum of the fact. If the passenger pays under protest, such fact shall be recorded on the Police Department records by the desk officer on duty, who will make a memorandum of the substance of the dispute and the disposition made. The disposition of the charge so made shall not be binding in any court if the passenger shall seek redress in court for an alleged overcharge.

§ 159-22 Penalties for offenses.

The failure to comply with any provision of this chapter shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $250 or imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both, for each violation.

§ 159-23 Restricted taxicab licenses.

A. 
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this chapter, this Council deems it in the public interest to authorize the City Clerk to issue to the taxicab service provider awarded the Amtrak taxicab concession up to 22 restricted taxicab licenses which shall have a term equal to the term of the Amtrak taxicab concession and which restricted taxicab licenses shall be renewable for each renewal term of the Amtrak taxicab concession (including any extension of the Amtrak taxicab concession which is approved by the owner of the Amtrak station or by such other person or entity with the authority to award and/or extend said concession). This Council finds that the creation of the restricted taxicab licenses is required by public convenience and necessity. The number of restricted taxicab licenses will be determined by the contract and may be changed.
B. 
The City Clerk shall issue said licenses upon proof that the applicant has been awarded the Amtrak taxicab concession and the fee for the license shall be $100 per year for the term of the license (which term is equal to the term of the award). The license shall be renewable on an annual basis thereafter for each year or portion thereof that the applicant holds the Amtrak taxicab concession for an annual fee of $100.
C. 
The restricted taxicab license shall allow the restricted licensee to perform all of its obligations under the Amtrak taxicab concession, including transporting passengers to and from the Amtrak Station, including trips to and from locations within the City of Rensselaer; however, no holder of a restricted taxicab license shall own, operate, manage or control any other taxi stand with the City of Rensselaer other than at the place or places designated by the owner of the Amtrak station at said train station.
D. 
The holder of the restricted taxicab licenses shall be required to comply with all other provisions of law not inconsistent with this § 159-23, including but not limited to the requirement that all drivers obtain hack licenses from the City of Rensselaer.
E. 
The restricted taxicab license may not be used to pick up any passenger within city limits other than its obligation to CDTA/Amtrak.
F. 
This § 159-23 shall be effective immediately.