A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany to quit licensing cabs

Written June 26th, 2017 by Hasso Hering

Wes Hare talks about taxi regulation while Peter Troedsson, left, his successor as city manager, and others listen.

Unless council members change their mind, Albany is going to drop its already minimal regulation of taxi cabs. And as for ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft,  the council showed no enthusiasm for trying to hamper them with local rules.

All this was discussed at a council work session Monday afternoon, the last for City Manager Wes Hare, who’s retiring, and the first for his successor, Peter Troedsson.

Unlike other towns, Albany regulates taxi operators only to the extent that it requires extra liability insurance to get a city cab license. Hare said he knew of no insurance claims in which the city requirement played a role.

Over the years the council has occasionally talked about regulating cabs — requiring vehicle safety inspections or subjecting drivers to criminal background checks, for instance — but always decided against it. One big reason: The more it regulates cabs and drivers, the greater risk of liability the city would have if something went south.

As a parting gift, Hare presented the council with a memo suggesting two alternatives, especially in view of the possible arrival in town of ride share systems like Uber: Work out a regional agreement by which licensing would be handled by the Cascades West Council of Governments, which already licenses Medcaid transport operators, or drop taxi regulation altogether.

The council’s consensus was to repeal the city’s taxi ordinance and, in the words of Councilman Mike Sykes, “walk away.” (hh)

Councilors Kopczynski, Sykes, Kellum and Johnson with Manager Peter Troedsson during the taxi discussion.

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4 responses to “Albany to quit licensing cabs”

  1. Francisco says:

    So does this mean that will have ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft in the near future allowed? I know in Eugene those company’s almost have the green light.

  2. John Hartman says:

    Headline:Albany City Councilors Take Libertarian Turn!
    ELectorate Wonders Why Council Did Not Do Same For Pot Shops
    Are Council Libertarians Fair Weather Only?

  3. Tony White says:

    I knew if I hung around long enough the Albany City Council would do something akin to sane. We have far too many “regulations” that are only thinly-disguised methods for either raising revenue or limiting competition. Getting rid of taxi regulations is a great step in the right direction. Let competition sort the cab companies out. If some fraud comes along, prosecute it under the general statutes. Well done, councilors!

    • Darby says:

      I think that at least the minimum that should be required is a background check. I am fortunate that I do not have to take taxis, but as a woman it would be nice to know that a rapist/sex offender that is on the sex offender registry isn’t driving women around.


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