April 25, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

Bowl Weekend set to be ‘very successful’ -

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Win-and-in situation looms for UMass men’s lacrosse against Delaware -

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Brewed of the Gods – Dogfish Head Theobroma -

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Never again, never forget: Remembering the Armenian genocide -

Thursday, April 24, 2014

No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse prepares for final two regular season games -

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Food of the World: Vietnam -

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Indie duo The Both to perform at Pearl Street -

Thursday, April 24, 2014

USDA grants awarded to UMass faculty -

Thursday, April 24, 2014

UMass baseball team heads to Bronx for three-game set vs. Fordham -

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Workout on the Quad comes to UMass -

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Time to reconsider ‘war on terror’ -

Thursday, April 24, 2014

UMass men’s lacrosse has received solid play from freshmen all year -

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Renowned rabbi discusses the role of religion in American policy -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

UMass baseball haunted by missed opportunities in 8-5 loss -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

‘Transcendence’ a fumbling cautionary tale -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Freedom of speech for campus employees -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

‘Veep’ continues to be one of the smartest comedies around -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

‘Noah’ a sinking ship -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Letter: A response to ‘There is nothing to debate about global warming’ -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Push for punishment equality -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

New year brings new taxi regulations for Amherst cab companies

Flickr/pixonomy

As of Jan. 1, cab companies in Amherst are abiding to new regulations for the first time in 20 years.

Taxi companies in the Town of Amherst are now required to install electric fare meters that must be visible to the customer at all times. Nine of the 12 taxi companies in operation last year complied with the newly-enforced regulation – a policy that is in accordance with Mass. General Laws, according to the Amherst’s official town website – and have obtained the ability to continue operating. Taxi company cars and drivers must also pass annual inspections; each cab bumper is required to sport a bright yellow sticker indicating the passing of inspection.

The average fines drivers and taxi owners face for disregarding the new regulations range from $50 to $100. Taxi company owners or drivers found operating in violation of the visible meter fare regulation could potentially have their licenses suspended.

Town Manager John Musante said these rules were long overdue considering regulations on taxi services in the area have not been altered since around 1992.

“One of the primary objectives of the regulatory changes in the installation of the fare meters is consumer awareness and consumer protection,” said Musante.

Before these laws were set in place, some University of Massachusetts students thought they were being charged unfairly.

“They usually count per person, not the distance, and if it is over like, three people, they jack up the prices,” said UMass student Lindsay Strassberg. “When I am only going a mile or less and I am paying 20 bucks for a ride, it is crazy how expensive it is.”

John Santaniello, owner of Celebrity Cab Company, said cab rides from Southwest to the center of town should be no more than $10.

Santaniello is part of one of the only cab companies in Amherst that had electric meters prior to the enactment of the regulation He has been with Celebrity Cab since 2004 and said his company has been operating under these standards the whole time.

“A lot of guys got the idea, ‘Let’s just jump in a van and call ourselves a taxi,’ but they didn’t start out with taxi plates, taxi insurance and taxi meters because it’s expensive. So they said ‘Oh let’s just go out there and pick people up,’” Santaniello said. “It got outta control. They were charging … kids per head and charging them all kind of crazy fees which was totally illegal.”

The Amherst Police Department as well as town hall had been receiving complaints regarding incidents involving operating procedures of some taxi drivers.

Captain Christopher Pronovost of the APD said there were a few complaints about interactions between drivers and customers.

“It was getting too hard to just kind of control what was going on,” Pronovost said.

Pronovost suggests that if students have any future problems in terms of unfair wages or other issues they should report the incidents immediately.

He also added that Amherst Police have previously been working to enforce these new regulations.

“The meter won’t stop people from getting ripped off,” said Santaniello. “It has to be the students themselves that have to be more aware of what’s going on.”

Rebecca Humphrey can be reached at rhumphre@student.umass.edu.

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