[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Washington 10-26-1995 by Ord. No. 26-1995 as Ch. VII of the 1994 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following words shall have the meanings set forth:
- The driving of an empty taxicab to and fro along a public street at a slow rate of speed for the obvious purpose of soliciting passengers.
- Any automobile or motor vehicle commonly called "taxi," "autocab," "limousine" or by whatever other name or designation they may be known, engaged in the business of carrying passengers for hire, which is held out, announced or advertised to operate or run over the public streets or highways in the Township, and particularly accepts and discharges persons who may offer themselves for transportation from points or places within the Township to points or places within or without the Township, or which is hired by charter or for a particular contract, or by the day or hour, or other fixed period, or to transport passengers to a specified place or places, or which charges a fare or price agreed upon in advance between the operator and the passenger. Nothing in this definition or chapter shall apply to omnibuses or to school buses.
License required. No person shall hire out, keep or use for hire or pay, or cause to be kept or used for hire or pay, any taxicab without first having obtained a license for that purpose from the Township Council for each and every taxicab. Such license shall be known as a "taxicab license," shall be identified by a suitable number and shall be issued for a particular taxicab.
Number of licenses permitted. The number of taxicab licenses outstanding shall not exceed three at any time.
Prerequisites for taxicab licenses. Every person obtaining a taxicab license must be at least 21 years of age, a citizen of the United States and a resident of the Township of Washington, Gloucester County, New Jersey. If a corporation, such a corporation must be organized and existing under the laws of the State of New Jersey and shall maintain an office in the Township of Washington, Gloucester County.
Applications for taxicab licenses.
All applications for taxicab licenses shall be in writing, in duplicate, and shall contain the full name and address of the owner, the serial number, type, color, age and make of the taxicab, the number of persons it is to carry and the names and addresses of two responsible property owners of the Township as references. If the applicant for a taxicab license is a corporation, the application, in addition to the above requirements, shall contain the correct corporate name, the state in which incorporated, the address of its principal office, the address of its office in the Township, the name of the agent in such office upon whom service of process against the corporation may be made, and the names and addresses of its stockholders, officers and directors. The applicant shall also submit and keep on file with the Township Clerk a complete and current schedule of rates to be charged. There must be submitted with the application a certified check for the annual fee for such license, the certification required by § 233-3B hereof, and the insurance policy or certificate and executed power of attorney required by § 233-5 hereof. Any and every change of address of the owner shall be reported, in writing, to the Township Clerk within three days after such change.
All applications shall be filed with the Township Clerk, who shall submit such applications to the Township Council at the next succeeding meeting for action. Applications may be granted or refused by vote of the Township Council at such meeting.
Transfer of license. No taxicab license may be used for any vehicle except the vehicle for which it is issued, except upon application for transfer by such licensee and approval thereof by the Township Council.
Standards. The Township Council is hereby authorized to establish rules and regulations for the inspection of taxicabs, to determine their construction and condition of fitness. The Township Council may revoke or suspend the license of any taxicab found to be unfitted or unsuited for public patronage.
Inspection of taxicabs required. No taxicab license shall be issued until the inspecting authority has certified that the taxicab has been thoroughly inspected and found to be in safe mechanical condition for the transportation of passengers, of good appearance, well painted and in a clean and sanitary interior condition.
License required. No taxicab licensed under this chapter shall be maintained or operated on the streets of the Township except by a driver licensed by the Township Council as a licensed taxicab driver.
Application for driver's license. Every applicant for a taxicab driver's license shall, in addition to the requirements herein provided and of any law of this state, prove to the satisfaction of the Township Council that he/she is over the age of 21 years; that he/she is in good health, with good eyesight, and not addicted to the use of intoxicating liquors; that he/she is able to read and write the English language; that he/she is of good character; that he/she has not been convicted of any indictable offense or of reckless driving; and that he/she has knowledge of the New Jersey State Motor Vehicle Department's traffic regulations and the ordinances and geography of the Township. Every license so issued shall be revoked upon conviction of two violations of the New Jersey State Motor Vehicle statutes.
Display of license. The driver of every such taxicab shall, at all times when the same is in public, carry a license bearing the inscription "The Township of Washington Taxicab Driver's License Number ______" (inserting the driver's license number), which license shall be furnished and issued by the Township Council upon payment of the taxicab driver's license fee.
Use by other than licensee. The holder of a taxicab driver's license shall not, under any circumstances, permit such license to be used by any other person.
Required. No taxicab license shall be issued until an insurance policy, or certificate in lieu thereof, and executed power of attorney shall have been filed with the Township Clerk as provided for taxicabs and autocabs pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 48:16-1 to 48:16-22 inclusive, together with any amendments or supplements adopted or hereinafter adopted relative thereto.
Insurance amount. The insurance herein required shall be not less than:
Five hundred thousand dollars personal injury to one person resulting from one accident.
One million dollars personal injury to two or more persons resulting from the same accident.
Fifty thousand dollars damages to property of any one person resulting from one accident.
Two hundred fifty thousand dollars damages to property of all persons in any one accident.
The annual fees for the licenses herein required shall be as set forth in Chapter 80, Fees.
Parking restrictions. No taxicab shall be permitted to park in the Township except on the owner's premises or in those spaces in the Township designated by the Township Council and marked by it as a taxi stand, or at such other places off the public streets as may hereafter be approved by resolution of the Township Council.
Soliciting restrictions. No taxicab, while awaiting employment by passengers, shall stand on any public street or place other than at or upon a designated public taxicab stand, nor shall any driver seek employment by repeatedly and persistently driving back and forth or by otherwise interfering with the proper and ordinary access to or egress from any railroad station, theater, hotel, restaurant or other public place; but employment may be solicited by driving through any public street or place without stops other than those due to obstructions or traffic and at a rate of speed that will not interfere with or impede traffic.
Display of identification sign. There shall be affixed in every taxicab, in such manner that the same can be conveniently read by any person therein, a card at least three inches in height by at least five inches in length, containing the name of the owner, the taxicab license number of the vehicle and the year of issue, together with the name and photograph of the driver of the taxicab.
Posting of rates and fares. The rate of fare to be charged within the Township and the surrounding area shall be posted so that it can be easily and clearly seen by every passenger in every part of the taxicab.
Conditions regarding fares. Every driver of such taxicab shall have the right to demand payment of legal fare in advance and may refuse employment unless so prepaid, but no driver of such vehicle shall otherwise refuse or neglect to convey any orderly person or persons upon request anywhere in the Township unless previously engaged or unable to do so. No driver of such taxicab shall carry any other person than the first passenger employing him/her, without the consent of such passenger.
All persons engaged in the taxicab business in the Township operating under the provisions of this chapter shall render an overall service to the public desiring to use taxicabs. They shall answer all calls received by them for services inside the corporate limits of the Township as soon as they can do so, and if the services cannot be rendered within a reasonable time, they shall then notify the prospective passenger how long it will be before the call can be answered and give the reason therefor. Any licensee or driver who shall refuse to accept a call anywhere in the corporate limits of the Township at any time when such licensee has available cab(s), or who shall fail or refuse to give overall service, shall be deemed a violator of this chapter, and the license or permit granted to such holder may, after a hearing, be revoked.
Shades and curtains. Side curtains or shades shall not be permitted on any such taxicab.
Report of lost property. Every driver of a taxicab, immediately after the termination of any hiring or employment, must carefully search such taxicab for any property lost or left therein and any such property, unless sooner claimed or delivered to the owner, must be reported within 24 hours, in writing, by the driver or owner of the taxicab to the Police Department, with brief particulars and description of the property.
Receipts. The driver of any taxicab shall, upon demand by the passenger, render to such passenger a receipt for the amount charged on which shall be the name of the owner, driver, the taxicab license number, the amount of the charge, date and time of the transaction and the point of origin and destination.
Misleading of passengers.
No driver of a taxicab shall induce any person to employ him/her by knowingly misinforming or misleading such person either as to the time or place of the arrival or departure of any train, plane, bus or boat, or as to the location of any hotel, public place or private residence within the Township, or as to the distance between any two points, nor shall any such driver deceive any person or make any false representation to him/her or convey any passenger to any other place or over any route other than that to which such passenger may have instructed the driver to go. Unless otherwise ordered, passengers shall be conveyed only over the most practical direct route to their destination.
No driver shall delay an immediate departure or otherwise accommodate additional passengers without the permission of the first passenger to hire the taxicab.
Conduct of drivers. Taxicab drivers, while engaged in the operation of a taxicab, shall behave in a civil and orderly manner and shall not use any indecent, profane or abusive language.
Receiving and discharging passengers. Taxicab drivers shall not receive or discharge passengers in the roadway without pulling their taxicabs as close as possible to the right-hand sidewalk or, in the absence of a sidewalk, to the extreme right-hand side of the road and there receive or discharge passengers. On one-way streets, passengers may be discharged at either the right- or left-hand sidewalk or side of roadway where no sidewalk exists.
Improper use of horn. Taxi drivers shall not use the horns of their vehicles to alert customers of their arrivals. Violation of this provision shall constitute a violation of this chapter and a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-69.
Solicitation for business. It shall be a violation of this chapter for any driver of a taxicab to solicit business for any hotels, motels, rooming houses, bars, taverns, restaurants, theaters and the like, or to attempt to divert patronage from one such place to another. Neither shall such driver engage in selling intoxicating liquors or solicit business for any house of ill repute or use his/her vehicle for any purposes other than the transporting of passengers.
Records to be kept by owners and drivers.
Every licensee shall require the driver to keep a daily record, identified by the taxicab number of the taxicab used that day and the license number of the driver, of the time and place when and where the passenger was accepted as well as the time and place of the discharge of the passenger, together with the fare received for the trip, which record the licensee shall keep intact for 180 days from the date thereof, and shall be kept open at all times for inspection by a duly authorized representative of the police department or business administrator.
Every licensee shall record in a book kept solely for such purpose the time of departure from the garage or taxicab stand of every licensed vehicle, giving the name and address of the driver thereof, his/her license number, the license number of the vehicle and the time of the return to the garage or taxicab stand of each such vehicle, which book shall be kept open for inspection at all times to a duly authorized representative of the police department or business administrator.
Cooperation with law enforcement officers. A taxicab driver shall cooperate with law enforcement officers in the performance of his/her duty. A taxicab driver shall not conceal evidence of a crime nor voluntarily aid violators to escape arrest. A taxicab driver shall report immediately to the police any attempt to use his/her vehicle to commit a crime or escape from the scene of a crime.
Failure to comply with Township, state or federal laws.
Every driver licensed under this chapter shall comply with all Township, state and federal laws, the violation of which reflects unfavorably upon the fitness of such driver to engage in public transportation. Failure to do so will justify the Township Council in suspending or, after bearing, revoking the license.
If at any time within the licensed year a taxicab driver has been found guilty of a high misdemeanor, misdemeanor or has permitted his/her taxicab to be used for any illegal or immoral purpose, the Township Council may immediately suspend or, after hearing, revoke the driver's license.
Maintenance of vehicles.
Every vehicle operating under this chapter shall be periodically inspected, at such intervals as the Township Council may direct, to insure the continued maintenance of safe operating conditions.
Every vehicle operating under this chapter shall be kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
Any vehicle on the streets of the Township in violation of this subsection may be removed from the streets by the Police Department. If the vehicle is not returned to service in accordance with the provisions of this subsection within 90 days, the business administrator may suspend or, after hearing, revoke the taxicab license.
Imitation of licensed vehicles.
No vehicle covered by the terms of this chapter shall be licensed if, in a manner which is misleading or tends to deceive or defraud the public, its color scheme, name, monogram or insignia shall be in conflict with, or in the opinion of the Business Administrator, imitates any color scheme, name, monogram or insignia used by any other person operating a taxicab(s). Any taxicab license issued under the terms of this chapter shall be subject to suspension or revocation by the Township Council if any change is made with regard to the color scheme, name, monogram or insignia of any vehicle, in any manner tending to deceive or defraud the public which, in the opinion of the Township Council, imitates any color scheme, name, monogram or insignia used by any other person operating a taxicab(s).
It shall be unlawful and a violation of this chapter for any person to operate any vehicle not licensed under this chapter in such a manner as to be misleading or tends to deceive or defraud the public into believing the vehicle is a licensed taxicab or is being operated as a licensed taxicab.
Change of address; loss of records. Any change of address of any owner or driver licensed under the provisions of this chapter must be reported, in writing, to the Township Clerk's office within 72 hours of such change. The loss of the license badge or any other book or document required to be kept by any licensed owner or driver must be reported to the Township Clerk's office, in writing, within 24 hours of such loss. In the event any licensed driver terminates his/her employment as such driver, he/she shall return the license, badge or any other paper or documents in his/her possession furnished to him/her by the Township Clerk to the Clerk's office within 72 hours of such termination.
Permitting unlicensed drivers to operate. It shall be unlawful for any person owning or operating any taxicab in the Township, licensed under the provisions of this chapter, to permit such taxicab to be operated by any person who does not hold a valid driver's permit as required by this chapter.