Scrolling Headlines:

UMass tuition set to rise 3-4 percent for 2017-2018 school year -

July 18, 2017

PVTA potential cuts affect UMass and five college students -

July 10, 2017

New director of student broadcast media at UMass this fall -

July 10, 2017

Whose American Dream? -

June 24, 2017

Man who threatened to bomb Coolidge Hall taken into ICE custody -

June 24, 2017

Cale Makar drafted by Colorado Avalanche in first round of 2017 NHL Entry Draft -

June 24, 2017

Conservatives: The Trump experiment is over -

June 17, 2017

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

UMass basketball adds Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent -

May 13, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse gets revenge on Colorado, beat Buffs 13-7 in NCAA Tournament First Round -

May 13, 2017

Meg Colleran dominates as UMass softball tops Saint Joseph’s, advances in A-10 tournament -

May 12, 2017

Rain keeps UMass softball from opening tournament play; Minutewomen earn A-10 honors -

May 11, 2017

Former UMass football wide receiver Tajae Sharpe accused of assault in lawsuit -

May 10, 2017

Justice Gorsuch can save the UMass GEO -

May 10, 2017

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.

Leave A Comment