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Published May 04 2013

Fargo’s 60-year-old cab law so outdated it requires caps with metal badges

FARGO – The city ordinance that regulates taxicabs and their owners and drivers in Fargo turned 60 years old last year, and police say some sections of the law no longer make sense in today’s world.

Parts of the ordinance were updated in the 1970s and ’80s, but other provisions – including the rules for revoking or suspending a taxi driver’s license – have gone untouched.

For example, the ordinance still requires cabbies to display a metal badge engraved with their license number on the outside of their cap while working.

But the metal badges haven’t been used for years – they’re now in a memorabilia display at police headquarters – and cabbies no longer must wear uniform caps.

The law also requires the police chief himself to inspect and seal every taxicab meter before it’s used and to re-inspect meters for accuracy when complaints arise.

Fargo Police Lt. Joel Vettel and Office Manager Jeanie Brooks noted that when the original ordinance was written, Fargo had only one taxicab company, Doyle’s.

“There are certainly some things in there that just do not make any sense in the modern age,” Vettel said.

The penalties section, which

hasn’t been updated since 1952, states that the police chief shall revoke a taxi driver’s city-issued license if he has:

• Been convicted of a felony.

• Had his state driver’s license revoked or suspended.

• Been convicted of driving under the influence or “intoxicating liquor or narcotics.”

• Been convicted of two or more violations of city or state traffic laws during any continuous six-month period.

• Been found by the police chief to be unfit to drive a taxicab “for the preservation of public safety, welfare, morals or good order.”

The ordinance also gives the police chief the option of suspending the license for up to 60 days instead of revoking it.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528