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Taxi Regulations Focus On Safety

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(WLNS) - Local cab companies say they might not be able to survive new regulations the cities of Lansing and East Lansing want to impose.

Taxi-cabs in both cities might be forced to comply with more regulations under a newly-proposed regional taxi authority.

Officials say it will make cab service safer but cab drivers told 6 News Emerald Morrow they believe more regulations could force them out of business.

Whether you catch a cab in Lansing or East Lansing city officials want the rules those drivers have to follow to be the same.

There are no common rules.

One reason why both cities are working on what they call a Regional Taxi Authority.

East Lansing city councilperson Ruth Beier explains, "The idea was to get everybody to agree on common rules, mostly for the reason of safety."

A good idea, some taxi drivers say, except they worry those rules wouldn't apply to everyone.

"If it was a level playing field, I don't think any of us would have a problem with it, because competition is fine," says John Clark, owner of Clark's Cab, LLC.

But some say the competition is unfair. "They should have to go through the same screening as we do," Clark adds.

Clark is referring to rideshare companies like "Uber" which offer private "for-hire" cars similar to taxis. "They aren't screening them properly," says Clark.

But local officials say under the new system that won't be the case.

Beier explains, "They'll have to register, they'll have to have a licensed driver, they have to be insured, they have to pay a fee."

And cab companies say, all of that is fair but there are more proposed changes, they say, are not.

Right now, most cab companies in the area operate on a flat rate system, but local leaders say they'd like to move to a metered system instead.

"You need to be able to tell how much it's going to cost and how much it's costing as you're going along."

Reporter: "And it could do what to you guys' business?"

Clark: "It could bankrupt many of us companies if we have to buy multiple meters."

And while those changes won't happen overnight drivers worry they'll be here soon enough and will put the brakes on their business.

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