Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, in collaboration with Miami International Airport Director Emilio Gonzalez and Mayor Carlos J. Gimenez, is sponsoring an ordinance to raise customer service standards for taxis that serve Miami International Airport and PortMiami, with the goal of ensuring that visitors’ first impressions of Miami-Dade County are positive ones.
The proposal, known as the Ambassador Cabs program, would require all taxis picking up passengers at the airport (including the Miami Intermodal Center) and seaport to be equipped with SunPasses, credit card payment machines, global positioning dispatch systems, digital security cameras and top lights to signal when the cab is vacant. Chauffeurs would be required to wear a collared shirt, dark trousers or skirt and closed shoes, as well as open doors for passengers and load and unload luggage. Any taxi driver found guilty of overcharging or refusing service would be removed from the program and prohibited from serving the airport and seaport.
The provisions of the Ambassador Cabs ordinance would take effect 12 months after its adoption. By that time, any cab serving the airport and seaport would have to display a decal identifying it as an “Ambassador Cab.” Priority access to airport and seaport terminals would be granted to chauffeurs operating alternative fuel vehicles. Taxis that meet the ordinance’s requirements within 180 days after its approval also would be given priority access.
The proposal was discussed at an informal Board of County Commission meeting on Tuesday, September 24 and will next be presented at a committee meeting for discussion and a vote before it goes to the full Board of County Commissioners for a final vote.
“Riding a taxi is usually the first experience visitors have when they come to Miami, so it’s very important that we make a good first impression so they will want to come back again and again, and that’s what my proposal will do,” Commissioner Diaz said. “I know some of my colleagues have expressed a desire to make this a countywide program, and I look forward to having that discussion with them.”