City to further regulate taxi drivers

The city of Oswego Common Council has passed a law that will regulate who can own and operate taxicabs. The new law is part of an ongoing effort to improve public safety.

Registered sex offenders and those who have been found guilty of a felony within the last 10 years will not be able to obtain a chauffeurs license to drive a taxicab in the city.

“I’m all for the new regulation law,” said Frank Timson, owner and only driver of Ontario Taxi. “It’s not going to affect my business.”

“There’s dirty s–t going on; it’s been going on for years,” said Timson.

Timson has been in the taxicab business for the past seven years in Oswego. There has been an ongoing problem with the taxis in the city, which was shown in Kyle Gargan’s Oswegonian article “Taxi Wars” in 2009. The issues stem purely from the rivalry of business.

The new law comes just months after regulations were proposed by the city to regulate the popular transportation services, “342-ABUS” and “D Bus.” That proposal was tabled after the city was tipped off to issues with taxicabs having sexual predators and felons behind the wheels.

“We investigated it, and found it to be true,” said Councilor Michael Todd from the 3rd ward. According to Todd, the law will be sent to Mayor Thomas Gillen to be signed, following which there is a two week waiting period before the law is active.

The Workforce Advocacy Center from Montgomery County has threatened to file a lawsuit against the city. They feel that the city is in violation of Article 23-A of the New York State Corrections Law. That law requires employers to not judge an applicant for a job on their previous conviction.

“This will not be overturned; we’ve talked to lawyers and judges and none of them see a problem with the law,” said Todd.

Once the law is in effect, current taxicab drivers who are registered sex offenders or have been convicted of a felony within the past 10 years will “immediately not be able to own or operate a taxicab in the city of Oswego,” according to Todd.

This is not, by any means, the end of the “Taxi Wars.”

“There’s more s–t coming down the pipe,” said Timson, “You have no idea what’s under the surface.”

The city has been stepping up to the plate when it comes to public safety lately.

“We want to see the city get to its full potential,” said Todd. “Things are going to get done that may not have been able to be done before due to politics.”

“[The law’s] a great safety net for the city of Oswego and the campus,” said Councilor Michael Myers from the 2nd ward.

“They’ve raped children, violently in some cases; it’s not my responsibility to provide for them,” said Todd.