First cab service in 20+ years sparks Nederland updates

Published 7:48 pm Friday, September 18, 2015

NEDERLAND — There was a time when just about anyone could drive a cab without question, but Nederland City Manager Chris Duque said that decade has long since passed.

Unfortunately, Duque said, the City of Nederland hadn’t scratched such outdated practices from its Code of Ordinances when Mike Tarver approached the city about starting a new business, Mid-County Taxi, in town.

“When Mr. Tarver approached us with a permit application, we decided to look at our existing ordinances just to make sure they were all up to date. We haven’t had a cab service in Nederland in so long, we weren’t even sure what the ordinance said,” Duque said Tuesday afternoon.

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Duque said the “Vehicles for Hire” section that governs all taxicabs in the city was still operating under an ordinance written in March 1943, with no updates recorded, until City Council took action Monday.

“I can’t believe this thing was never updated,” Duque said Tuesday, double-checking the 1943 ordinance with City Clerk Gay Ferguson. “But when you think about it, Nederland hasn’t had many taxi services. We haven’t had once in decades.”

Ferguson said the last permit application she has on record in the Clerk’s Office is for the Mid-County Cab Co., whose Nederland permit expired in 1991.

“Basically, our existing taxicab ordinance was last used in the 1970s or ’80s when Mid-County Cab first got going,” Duque said Monday at the City Council meeting. “Now, we don’t want to throw everything out. The 1940s ordinance established the most basic of things we still need all taxicab drivers to have: insurance, clean vehicles, proof of permit, inspection by the city, and a call for service before driving the roads.”

Duque said what the old ordinance lacked was any attempt at protecting the customers who used the cab service.

Council adopted revisions Monday night that require criminal background and driving record checks for all drivers in any cab company with a Nederland permit, and a method for denying any driver that doesn’t meet the city’s standards.

“I think the revised ordinance will help protect our riders, and we’re happy to have a new business offering this service in our community again,” Duque said. “It appears Mr. Tarver wants to have a reputable company, and I believe he’s going to run a good business with good service for his customers.”

For more information, call the city manager’s office at (409) 723-1503.

Twitter: @crhenderson90