San Francisco Considers Stiff Fines For Gypsy Cabs

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Taxis are parked near Union Square, San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Taxis with proper permits are parked near Union Square, San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – “Bad cabs” could find themselves out of pocket, if legislation before a San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ committee is advanced and, ultimately, adopted by the full board.

Specifically, the proposal calls for illegal cabbies to be fined $5,000 and risk seeing their vehicles impounded if caught operating in the city without the proper permit.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:


“Every week people get into cars that they don’t know whether the driver has been screened, whether the vehicles have been checked, whether there’s liability insurance involved,” warned Christiane Hayashi, director of San Francisco’s Taxi Commission. “This is the biggest concern that the taxi industry has.”

Legitimate cab drivers have also complained, claiming that gypsy cabs reflect poorly on all cabbies.

“I had a woman tell me she was picked up by a cab driver and it was one of these gypsy cabs and she told me she wanted to go somewhere and he said why don’t we go up on top of the hill and smoke a joint instead,” recounted one properly-permitted cabbie.

No action was taken at Thursday’s Board of Supervisors’ public safety commission meeting, but if the increased penalties were to be approved, the Taxi Commission indicated a willingness to hire three new taxi officers to nudge the gypsies off San Francisco streets.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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