Oak Bluffs tightens taxi regulations

Oak Bluffs selectmen voted new taxi regulations that would require more insurance and change night surcharges, at their Tuesday meeting.

An earlier scheduled vote on the regulations was delayed so that selectmen could speak with local taxi owners. From that meeting came some compromises to the regulations endorsed by the all-Island Selectmen’s Association earlier this year and approved Tuesday.

“From my perspective, we had a very beneficial meeting,” said Duncan Ross, chairman of the board of selectmen.

The regulations voted unanimously will require taxi owners to have $100,000 coverage for accidents, and $300,000 policy term insurance. Three-inch-high letters with the name of the cab company and the number of the cab must be placed on the back, both sides, and inside the cab. The cabs can charge a night surcharge between 2 am and 5 am, and it can be no more than 1.5 times the usual fare.

Several cab drivers who attended the meeting complained about the new staging area at the new Steamship Authority terminal. They said it is too far away for elderly people to walk, and many people can’t see it at all, despite signs directing them to the cab stand.

“I know there are still issues there with the taxis and the buses,” town administrator Michael Dutton said. “Most of this is driven by the Steamship Authority, so more discussions have to take place.”