Grand Rapids lightens taxicab law for 'more fair' market
Grand Rapids officials have eased taxicab regulations in favor of a more competitive market.
The city commission on Tuesday approved removal of several licensing requirements – including the need for $50,000 in liquid assets and a brick-and-mortar headquarters, among other items.
Commissioners spoke of making market barriers as low as possible, particularly as it relates to ride-hailing software companies like Uber and Lyft.
The changes came out a transportation steering committee created last year to study the landscape and provide recommendations.
Other reforms include allowing limited cab advertising space and adding curbside taxicab pickup zones downtown.
A sticking point for some was a 24-hour availability requirement, which Commissioner Dave Shaffer called "against the spirit" of a "more fair" playing field - specifically for a small or single-cab operation.
Others disagreed, noting existing companies found no issue with the requirement, as well as a desire to enforce 24-hour accessibility for residents and visitors.
"[The rule is important] until we have a market where we are sure we have that access," Mayor Rosalynn Bliss says.
An amendment proposing removal of the 24-hour requirement lost by 4-3 vote. Commissioners say it's possible that part could be reviewed if issues are brought.
The ordinance itself was approved unanimously.