By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD – Rockford officials will begin enforcing its updated tax cab ordinance next month, the city reported Wednesday.
The announcement comes a week after leaders notified several local cab operators that the city will begin enforcement of licensing requirements on Sept. 1.
Anyone observed operating in the city after that date without the appropriate licenses will be fined, and their vehicle will be impounded.
In addition to other requirements set forth in the ordinance, a taxi cab driver must be at least 21 years old, complete an application, provide a copy of a state driver’s license, submit a state background check and pay a fee of $16. Each vehicle must have a separate license.
Cost of a license is $52 per vehicle.
Pursuant to Section 29-54 of the City of Rockford Code of Ordinances, all taxi cabs must have a license to use or occupy any street, alley, or other public place for the purposes of conducting a business for the transportation of passengers for hire.
In addition, Pursuant to Section 29-97 of the Code, all drivers of a taxi cab must have a City of Rockford license.
Leaders say the city has not aggressively enforced the ordinance in the past because of the ambiguity in how it was written.
“There was (not many) teeth in the ordinance,” City Attorney Kerry Partridge said in an earlier report. “We could (have issued) citations for the owners of the taxicab companies and we’ve enforced it in the past. But, it’s fallen out of practice for them to even buy a license.”
There was one license issued in 2017.
After Sept. 1, driver of a taxicab or owner of a taxi cab who does not receive correspondence is encouraged to contact the Department of Law to obtain a copy of the information.
The ordinance does not regulate limo drivers or independent contractors who work companies like Uber or Lyft. R.