File Number: 131789
|Printable PDF Format|
|File Number: 131789||File Type: Ordinance||Status: In Committee|
|Version: 0||Reference:||Control: County Commission|
|Requester: Regulatory and Economic Resources||Cost:||Final Action:|
|Sunset Provision: No||Effective Date:||Expiration Date:|
|Registered Lobbyist:||None Listed|
|Acting Body||Date||Agenda Item||Action||Sent To||Due Date||Returned||Pass/Fail|
|County Attorney||10/21/2013||Assigned||County Mayor||10/21/2013|
|Board of County Commissioners||9/24/2013||2A5||Presented|
|REPORT:||Mayor Gimenez expressed appreciation to Commissioner Moss for calling today’s (9/24) meeting; and to the Commissioners for allowing him to provide an overview of the proposed Ambassador Cabs Program which was sponsored by Commissioner Diaz. Mayor Gimenez said this year his Administration’s focus had been bringing much needed improvements to the taxicab industry which played an important role in the County’s local economy. He noted taxis filled a vital void by transporting tourists, business travelers and residents around the community. Mayor Gimenez said the taxicab industry was driven by decent, hard-working men and women. He noted the drivers and their taxicabs were often the critical, first impression that visitors received upon their arrival, particularly at Miami International Airport (Airport), and at Port Miami (Port). Mayor Gimenez said unfortunately, Miami-Dade County lagged far behind world-class destinations such as New York City as it related to levels of service, personal courtesy, and technology. He noted the County had received hundreds of complaints from upset visitors, including passengers being forced out of a taxi before reaching their destination because the cabs did not accept credit cards; being forced to wait in long lines at toll booths because the cabs were not equipped with a SunPass device, while the meter was running; being refused a ride because the destination was too close; or being dropped off in the middle of the street just blocks after departing the Port or the Airport for the same reason. Mayor Gimenez said that visitors to Miami-Dade County should not be welcomed in this manner, specifically when they had chosen to spend their time and hard-earned money in this County. Mayor Gimenez said this proposed ordinance created a viable plan that would bring the taxicab industry into the 21st Century and ensure that the seven million visitors and locals who use taxicabs each year would consistently receive the level of service they deserve. He noted Ambassador Cabs were defined as those cabs that had the privilege of serving customers at the Airport and the Port. Mayor Gimenez pointed out that a similar system currently existed in Broward for those taxis that served their Airport and Seaport, but was more restrictive than this proposed ordinance. Mayor Gimenez advised that in order to earn the Ambassador Cab status, taxis and their drivers must meet the highest technology standards, including being equipped with credit card processing systems in the back seat; Global Positioning Dispatch Systems (GPS); SunPass devices; and digital security camera systems. He noted chauffeurs in the Ambassador Cab Program must meet higher service standards and failure to do so would prevent them from joining the Program. Mayor Gimenez said that existing members who failed to maintain those standards would be suspended from the Program for a minimum of one year. He noted he believed these were reasonable standards for the taxi drivers and taxicabs to meet and was confident that the level of service would be improved. Mayor Gimenez said that along with the proposed Ambassador Cab ordinance, he believed the proposals the Commission members brought forward on this matter could contribute to reaching the common goal, whether it was stricter discipline or incentives, to place credit card machines in more taxis. He noted a separate but related matter involved the classification of chauffeured cars that operated entirely on a mobile service or a mobile device platform. Mayor Gimenez said he did not consider this particular mode of transportation as a direct competition to the taxicab industry, but as a high-end niche option which passengers could choose to utilize if they were willing to pay a premium price for the black car style service. He noted passengers who chose to use those services would be required to pay higher minimum prices. Mayor Gimenez said if Miami wanted to become a truly global city the County must get these important industries up to speed. Mayor Gimenez noted the credit card machines, SunPass devices, vehicle age standards, courtesy and discipline standards were all important aspects of this proposed ordinance. Chairwoman Sosa spoke in support of this proposed ordinance. She noted she believed the proper steps were being taken to welcome visitors to Miami-Dade County; and to promote the County, the cities, and to increase revenues. Commissioner Heyman spoke in support of this proposal and also noted the support of the Hospitality industries. She pointed out some companies had refurbished their fleets and questioned whether vehicles that were under three model years of age and were previously used as a cab would be eligible for the Ambassador Cabs Program. Mayor Gimenez noted he believed language addressing Commissioner Heyman’s inquiry could be incorporated into the Program. Commissioner Heyman asked that language addressing the eligibility of vehicles under three model years of age and were previously used as a cab, be included in this proposal for consideration by the Transportation and Aviation Committee. She requested to be listed as a co-sponsor to this proposed ordinance. Commissioner Monestime commented on the importance of customer service. He said that he understood the intent of this proposal; however, expressed concern that the Ambassador Cab was not a company but a program. Commissioner Monestime noted the requirements which differentiated the Ambassador Cab, and said he believed if this proposed ordinance was adopted, individuals in the Program would benefit financially. Commissioner Monestime inquired about the qualification process; access to Ambassador Cabs if all the drivers were trained and approved to drive an Ambassador Cab; potential expansion of this legislation if this proposed ordinance was adopted; and the rationale for this proposal being a pilot program, rather than it being applicable countywide. Responding to Commissioner Monestime, Mr. Mora said the Taxi Advisory Group recommended that drivers who applied for the Program be given a clean slate and from thereon, staff would look at the drivers’ citation and complaint history to determine if they would be eligible to reapply in the future. Deputy Mayor Jack Osterholt said that if all drivers were admitted into the Ambassador Cabs Program simultaneously because each cab met all the requirements, there would be no benefit as everyone would be at the same status; however, the Administration was not aware if this would occur. He noted it would be good if the program was countywide, but to ensure that everyone had an opportunity to see a benefit, the initial implementation was applicable to the Airport or the Port. Deputy Mayor Osterholt advised that if the Administration determined that this Program was successful, they would come back to the Commission regarding its expansion. He noted the Administration was seeking to develop a program that allowed people to make a choice. Commissioner Monestime said that a lot of complaints had been made regarding subjective enforcement and he believed that enforcement staff must operate at a higher standard as well. Commissioner Zapata commended Commissioner Edmonson on her proposed legislation regarding the limousine industry, noting he believed it raised an issue that needed to be addressed. He said this proposed ordinance was introducing technology to a dynamic community to better serve residents and visitors and should be embraced. Commissioner Zapata noted the County Commission wanted taxi drivers to be able to make what they were worth in an open and free marketplace; and implementing those components and that philosophy would generate good results. He expressed concern regarding the impact of the taxicab medallions on the marketplace and noted this needed to be addressed by the Commission as it moved forward. Commissioner Zapata thanked his colleagues for their work on the taxicab industry and noted he would appreciate any assistance with the medallion issue. Commissioner Jordan spoke in support of the proposed Ambassador Cabs Program being implemented countywide. She noted regardless of whether a passenger was picked up from the Airport or the Port it carried the image of Miami-Dade County, and it was unacceptable to have a double standard. In response to Commissioner Jordan’s inquiry regarding the dress code for Ambassador Cab drivers, Mr. Mora said the current Code requirements for the drivers’ uniforms remained the same, and no exception would be made for drivers working at MIA or the Port. He noted currently drivers with medical needs were allowed to deviate from the existing Code. Commissioner Jordan asked about the eligibility requirements and the selection process for Ambassador Cab drivers, to which Mr. Mora said the Taxi Advisory Group’s recommendation to staff was that any previous civil violations or any enforcement actions would not be counted against any driver who applied for the Program. He noted the standard would be based on the County Commission’s decision. Mr. Mora advised that under the existing Code, drivers who had received more than two civil violations would not be eligible to become an Ambassador Cab chauffeur. Deputy Mayor Osterholt said this requirement pertained to the driving and behavior record of the driver, and not the vehicle itself. Responding to Commissioner Jordan’s inquiry regarding the difference with this proposed legislation and prior legislation, Deputy Mayor Osterholt said this proposal required a credit card system, GPS, and digital security camera inside the Ambassador Cab. He noted a process would be included for the vehicles to be repainted. Commissioner Jordan asked whether this would be a pilot Program initially and Deputy Mayor Osterholt responded that the Program would be phased in to provide an opportunity to drivers who wanted to participate. He noted the Administration would be supportive of a countywide implementation of the Program. Responding to Commissioner Jordan’s suggestion regarding a graduated process for implementation of new vehicle age standards countywide, Mr. Mora said that a timetable could be incorporated in this proposed ordinance to provide for a gradual transition period. Deputy Mayor Osterholt noted Commissioner Jordan’s proposed amendment would have to be discussed with Commissioner Diaz, the Prime Sponsor of this proposed ordinance. Chairwoman Sosa noted she would inquire of Commissioner Diaz’ staff whether they wanted this item be deferred in his absence. Commissioner Jordan said she did not believe it would be necessary to defer this proposed ordinance. She asked staff to check with Commissioner Diaz as to whether he would accept her proposed amendment for a gradual, countywide implementation, and if so, she would defer to him and staff regarding the implementation timeframe. Commissioner Moss said that he supported the Mayor’s comments noted his support for improvements to the system without incurring additional cost and burden on the taxi drivers. However, he expressed concern regarding when this item was first discussed there were issues of the security camera, and other kinds of requirements that he was concerned would bring about an additional cost. He noted the GPS was a monthly cost but based on the Mayor’s comments, it was something he could support. He noted his earlier position was because these were additional costs which would be passed on to the drivers. He noted in terms of the credit card machines, the vehicle ages and the SunPass. He noted the Commission had to stop allowing the vehicles to age and this needed to be addressed. Commissioner Moss noted if it was something that would improve the system without bringing additional cost and burdens on the drivers, then he would be supportive, but these other things that would create additional economic hardships would be a problem. He noted he supported the Mayor’s comments regarding credit cards, SunPass, vehicle age and driver participation. Deputy Mayor Osterholt noted the Administration had heard the sentiments expressed and would talk to Commissioner Diaz and would draft and bring appropriate legislation, working with the County Attorney’s Office. Commissioner Bell noted this was an opt-in Program and would not be placing a hardship on the drivers; and was not mandatory. Deputy Mayor Osterholt advised that it was designed to be an opt-in Program; however, based on the comments expressed that may change.|
|County Attorney||9/18/2013||Assigned||Gerald K. Sanchez||9/18/2013|
|County Mayor||9/18/2013||Assigned||County Attorney||11/5/2013|
|REPORT:||RER (revised ordinance) - Attorney: Gerald Sanchez - Sponsor: Comm. Diaz - public hearing @ cmte / pending cmte assignment - Attachment: None|
|County Mayor||9/16/2013||Assigned||Jack Osterholt||9/16/2013|
|REPORT:||Item returned to DM.|
|County Attorney||9/16/2013||Assigned||County Mayor|
|REPORT:||Item returned to Agenda office|
|County Attorney||9/12/2013||Assigned||Gerald K. Sanchez||9/16/2013|
|County Mayor||9/12/2013||Assigned||County Attorney||11/5/2013|
|REPORT:||RER - Attorney: Gerald Sanchez - Sponsor: Comm. Diaz - public hearing @ cmte / pending cmte assignment - Attachment: None|
|County Mayor||9/12/2013||Assigned||Jack Osterholt||9/12/2013|
ORDINANCE RELATING TO FOR-HIRE MOTOR VEHICLES; AMENDING CHAPTER 31 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, DESIGNATING TAXICABS THAT TRANSPORT PERSONS AND THEIR BAGGAGE FROM MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AND THE PORT OF MIAMI AS AMBASSADOR CABS; ESTABLISHING SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR AMBASSADOR CABS INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, CREDIT CARD PROCESSING SYSTEMS, GLOBAL POSITIONING DISPATCH SYSTEMS, SUNPASS DEVICES, DIGITAL SECURITY CAMERA SYSTEMS AND WARNING LIGHTS; AMENDING VEHICLE AGE REQUIREMENTS AND STANDARDS; ESTABLISHING ADDITIONAL STANDARDS AND REQUIREMENTS FOR CHAUFFEURS OPERATING AMBASSADOR CABS; ESTABLISHING REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO CREDIT CARD PROCESSING SYSTEMS AND PROVIDERS; EMPOWERING DEPARTMENT OF REGULATORY AND ECONOMIC RESOURCES TO APPROVE CREDIT CARD PROCESSING SYSTEMS; PROVIDING PRIORITY ACCESS TO AIRPORT AND SEAPORT TERMINALS FOR ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES; AMENDING CHAPTER 8CC OF THE CODE TO PROVIDE FOR PENALTIES; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA:
Section 1. Chapter 31 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, is hereby amended to read as follows:
VEHICLES FOR HIRE
ARTICLE II. LICENSING AND REGULATION OF FOR-HIRE MOTOR VEHICLES
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Sec. 31-93. Special provisions.
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(b) >>Ambassador Cabs.<< Any taxicab licensed pursuant to Section 31-82 of this article and meeting all standards set forth in Section 31-89 of this article [[shall be authorized]] >>shall seek and receive authorization<< to provide transportation of persons and their baggage from Miami International Airport and from the Port of Miami>>.<< [[upon compliance with reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms, conditions and fees as established by the County Manager]]. The transportation of persons and baggage from Miami International Airport or from the Port of Miami shall constitute an agreement by the operator that he >>/she/it<< will conform and cause the chauffeur driving such taxicab to conform to such terms, conditions, and fees. >>Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, any taxicab for-hire license holder who seeks authorization to pick-up passengers at Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami utilizing his/her/its taxicab shall be required to register with the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources and comply with and abide by the standards set forth below. Taxicabs authorized to provide taxicab service at Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami shall be designated as Ambassador Cabs. For purposes of this Article, the Miami Intermodal Center (MIC) shall be considered part of Miami International Airport, and all taxicabs which provide taxicab service from the MIC shall be subject to all provisions governing taxicab service at Miami International Airport. Twelve (12) months after the effective date of this ordinance, all taxicabs transporting persons and their baggage from Miami International Airport or from the Port of Miami shall be registered as Ambassador Cabs. Ambassador Cabs shall comply with the following requirements:
(1) Credit Card Processing System. Each Ambassador Cab shall be equipped with an operable back of seat credit card processing system.
(i) The credit card processing system shall allow the passenger to utilize his or her credit card in the rear compartment of the taxicab without handing the card to the chauffeur. Said equipment shall list tips, fares, tolls and fees separately. The credit card payment display terminal shall be interfaced with the vehicle’s taximeter and shall be programmed to display all authorized meter and flat fare rates. The meter shall be used for all fares, including flat fare trips. A taxicab equipped with a credit card processing system shall not pick up passengers at Miami International Airport or the Port of Miami when the required credit card processing system is not operational. Operational failure of said system shall require the immediate vehicle removal from service at Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami until said equipment is repaired and re-inspected at the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources Vehicle Inspection Facility.
(ii) No credit card processing fee, convenience fee, equipment rental fee or any other additional fees or charges are to be paid by the passenger when using a credit card to pay the fare. A receipt shall be provided for all trips. All customer receipts shall be generated by a taximeter or other electronic device and shall contain the date and time that the trip starts, the time the trip ends, and total distance traveled. The receipt shall also include the fare charged, the name and telephone number of the passenger service company, the operating permit number, the chauffeur registration number, and the telephone number and e-mail address for filing complaints with the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources. Chauffeurs shall be prohibited from refusing to accept payment by a credit card.
(iii) Any and all credit card service providers shall utilize a paycard or direct deposit system and establish an account directly with each chauffeur that provides for electronic payments. Payments for taxicab fares shall be credited to a chauffeur's paycard or bank account within two (2) business days. Only credit card processing systems approved by the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources may be utilized in taxicabs. The processing of credit card payments shall comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard;
(2) Global Positioning Dispatch System. Ambassador Cabs must be integrated with a global positioning dispatch system capable of determining the location of each taxicab utilizing the system twenty-four (24) hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five (365) days a year. All Ambassador Cabs shall have a mobile two-way radio or electronic dispatch system, installed and operating properly that is connected to and subscribed to by a passenger service company that has a fixed-base call center operated twenty-four (24) hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five (365) days a year;
(3) SunPass Device. Ambassador Cabs picking up passengers must have and utilize a SunPass device where the toll is fixed. Where the "SunPass Only" or "SunPass Express" toll is not fixed, the chauffeur shall determine whether the passenger desires to use the "SunPass Only" or "SunPass Express" lane and comply with the wishes of the passenger;
(4) Digital Security Camera System. Ambassador Cabs shall have an operable digital security camera system in accordance with the requirements stated in Chapter 31, Section 31-82(o)(7)(iii) of the Code of Miami-Dade County;
(5) Warning Lights. Ambassador Cabs shall be equipped with operable warning lights, in accordance with the requirements stated in Chapter 31-82(o)(7)(v) of the Code of Miami-Dade County for the purpose of advising others and law enforcement agents that an emergency situation exists within the vehicle;
(6) Top Lights. Ambassador Cabs shall be equipped with a “vacant” light attached to the top of the roof or to the top of the dome light. Such light unit shall be connected to a contact switch attached to the taximeter, and such contact switch shall operate automatically to illuminate the “vacant” light when the taximeter is not in operation, indicating the cab is vacant and for hire, and to extinguish such light when the taximeter is in operation. No person shall drive or operate any taxicab with such a light illuminated when such taxicab is transporting a passenger. Such top tail light must utilize equipment with the requisite wattage to ensure that the top tail light is visible to passengers and the public from a reasonable distance;
(7) Vehicle Decal. Ambassador Cab shall have a special “Ambassador Cab” decal designated by the Department displayed on the vehicle. Such decal shall be placed in the manner and place as directed by the Department. Ambassador Cabs shall not be permitted to pick up passengers at either Miami International Airport or the Port of Miami without the required decal;
(8) Vehicle Age Requirements and Standards. Any Ambassador Cab initially placed into service shall not have been previously used as a taxicab, police vehicle or have a “rebuilt” or “salvage” title, and shall be no greater than three (3) model years of age. Any vehicle over six (6) model years of age shall not operate as a taxicab at either Miami International Airport or the Port of Miami;
(9) Vehicle Age Requirements and Standards for Wheelchair Accessible Cabs. Any Wheelchair Accessible Ambassador Cab initially placed into service shall not have been previously used as a Wheelchair Accessible Cab, police vehicle, or have a “rebuilt” or “salvage” title and shall be no greater than three (3) model years of age. Any vehicle over eight (8) model years of age shall not operate as a Wheelchair Accessible Cab at either Miami International Airport or the Port of Miami;
(10) Compliance with Other Provisions. Ambassador Cabs shall at all times be in compliance with Chapter 31 of the Code of Miami Dade County.
Any Ambassador Cab that is also an alternative fuel vehicle, as defined in section 403.42(2)(b), Florida Statutes, shall have priority access to the Miami International Airport terminal and the Port of Miami terminal to pick up passengers.
Any Ambassador Cab that has met all the requirements of the Ambassador Cab program and is designated as an Ambassador Cab within 180 days after the effective date of this ordinance shall have priority access to the Miami International Airport terminal and the Port of Miami terminal to pick up passengers until all provisions of this ordinance are mandated.<<
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Sec. 31-304. Chauffeur's registration – Additional Taxicab Requirements.
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>>(6) Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, twelve (12) months after the effective date of this ordinance, any chauffeur who seeks authorization to pick-up passengers at Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami shall be required to register with the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources and meet with and abide by the following standards:
(a) Chauffeurs of Ambassador Cabs shall at all times during the performance of their duties be in compliance with Chapter 31 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Miami-Dade Aviation Operational Directive number 42, Port of Miami Tariff number 10 and the requirements of this section;
(b) A chauffeur seeking authorization to operate an Ambassador Cab shall not be eligible to operate an Ambassador Cab if he or she has during the preceding one (1) year period: (i) been found guilty of more than two violations of Chapter 31 of the Code by an administrative hearing officer; or (ii) failed to pay or appeal more than two citations for violations of Chapter 31 of the Code within the established time; or (iii) paid more than two (2) fines for violating Chapter 31 of the Code;
(c) Any chauffeur of an Ambassador Cab shall be removed from the Ambassador Cab program and not permitted to pick-up passengers at Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami if he or she has during any one (1) year period as an Ambassador Cab chauffeur: (i) been found guilty of more than two violations of Chapter 31 of the Code by an administrative hearing officer; or (ii) failed to pay or appeal more than two (2) citations for violations of Chapter 31 of the Code within the established time; or (iii) paid more than two (2) fines for violating Chapter 31 of the Code;
(d) Any chauffeur of an Ambassador Cab shall be removed from the Ambassador Cab program and not permitted to pick-up passengers at Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami if he or she has during any one (1) year period as an Ambassador Cab chauffeur: (i) been found guilty of one of the following violations of Chapter 31 of the Code by an administrative hearing officer; or (ii) failed to pay or appeal one of the following citations for violating Chapter 31 of the Code within the established time; or (iii) paid a fine for violating one of the following provisions of Chapter 31 of the Code:
i. Failure to use established rates; or
ii. Refusal to transport a passenger.
(e) Notwithstanding, any provision to the contrary, any chauffeur of an Ambassador Cab shall be permanently removed from and permanently ineligible to apply for the Ambassador Cabs Program and not permitted to pick-up passengers at Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami if he or she has: (i) been found guilty of a second offense of one of the following violations of Chapter 31 of the Code by an administrative hearing officer; or (ii) for a second time, failed to pay or appeal one of the following citations for violating Chapter 31 of the Code within the established time; or (iii) for a second time, paid a fine for violating one of the following provisions of Chapter 31 of the Code:
i. Failure to use established rates; or
ii. Refusal to transport a passenger.
(f) Chauffeurs removed from operation as an Ambassador Cab chauffeur may not re-apply to pick up passengers at Miami International Airport or the Port of Miami until one (1) year from the date of removal from the program has passed provided that during that period the chauffeur has not: (i) been found guilty of more than two violations of Chapter 31 of the Code by an administrative hearing officer; or (ii) failed to pay or appeal more than two (2) citations for violations of Chapter 31 of the Code within the established time; or (iii) paid more than two (2) fines for violating Chapter 31 of the Code;
(g) Chauffeurs of Ambassador Cabs shall have and utilize a SunPass device where the toll is fixed. Where the "SunPass Only" or "SunPass Express" toll is not fixed, the chauffeur shall determine whether the passenger desires to use the "SunPass Only" or "SunPass Express" lane and comply with the wishes of the passenger;
(h) Chauffeurs of Ambassador Cabs shall, without exception, wear a collared shirt, dark trousers or skirt and closed shoes;
(i) Chauffeurs of Ambassador Cabs shall open doors for passengers;
(j) Chauffeurs of Ambassador Cabs shall load and unload luggage, unless otherwise instructed by the passenger;
(k) Chauffeurs of Ambassador Cabs shall be prohibited from refusing to accept payment by a credit card.<<
Section 2. Section 8CC-10 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, is hereby amended to read as follows:
Sec. 8CC-10. Schedule of civil penalties.
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Code Section Description of Violation Civil Penalty
>>31-93 (b) Ambassador Cab Vehicle $250.00
31-304 (6) Ambassador Cab $250.00<<
Section 3. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or provision of this ordinance is held invalid, the remainder of this ordinance shall not be affected by such invalidity.
Section 4. It is the intention of the Board of County Commissioners, and it is hereby ordained that the provisions of this ordinance, including any sunset provision, shall become and be made a part of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida. The sections of this ordinance may be renumbered or relettered to accomplish such intention, and the word "ordinance" may be changed to "section," "article," or other appropriate word.
Section 5. This ordinance shall become effective ten (10) days after the date of enactment unless vetoed by the Mayor, and if vetoed, shall become effective only upon an override by this Board.
To: Honorable Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa
and Members, Board of County Commissioners
From: Carlos A. Gimenez
Subject: Ordinance Establishing the Ambassador Cabs Program
It is recommended that the Board of County Commissioners (Board) approve the attached ordinance establishing the Ambassador Cabs Program aimed at elevating the level of taxicab service at Miami International Airport (MIA) and the Port of Miami.
The attached proposed ordinance shall apply to designated taxicabs and chauffeurs transporting passengers to and from MIA and the Port of Miami.
Fiscal Impact/Funding Source
Licensing, operating permit and inspection fees are collected by the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources (RER) to support regulatory functions. Taxicabs participating in the Ambassador Cabs Program will be inspected to ensure compliance with these new vehicle standards. Vehicle inspection fees are $70 per vehicle for new inspections and $38 per vehicle for re-inspections. Chauffeurs participating in this Program will have to replace their chauffeur registration at a cost of $26.
For-hire Division Chief Joe Mora, RER, and Miami-Dade Aviation Department’s (MDAD) Landside Operations Division Director, Monica Beltran, will be responsible for monitoring ordinance compliance.
A visitor’s first impression of Miami Dade County is often through the experience in a taxicab from MIA or the Port of Miami to his or her accommodations. Residents and visitors alike complain about the lack of credit card processing capability and other technologies in taxicabs, as well as driver behavior around short trip refusals, overcharging, and general discourtesy. Such complaints are received on a regular basis by RER and MDAD and have long been a concern of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Hospitality industry.
The Ambassador Cabs Program requires taxicabs servicing MIA and the Port of Miami to be equipped with the latest technologies and safety features. Chauffeurs will be required to meet enhanced chauffeur standards. Registered taxicabs and chauffeurs who have obtained the Ambassador Cab designation will be the sole authorized agents to provide service at MIA, to include the Miami Intermodal Center (MIC) and, the Port of Miami.
Further proposed amendments mandate credit card acceptance via a passenger terminal located in the rear seat compartment which affords passengers the ability to pay the fare with the convenience and privacy of the backseat of the taxicab. Chauffeurs will be prohibited from imposing passengers with a credit card handling fee, processing fee, convenience fee, or other additional processing fees. Moreover, the ordinance provides that all Ambassador Cabs must be integrated with a global positioning dispatch system capable of determining the location of each taxicab utilizing the system twenty-four (24) hours a day, 365 days a year.
The ordinance also mandates technical enhancements that will provide increased protection to both the passenger as well as the taxicab chauffeur. Ambassador Cabs will be required to be equipped with digital security cameras and warning lights which will advise law enforcement personnel of a possible emergency. The proposed technology and safety enhancements were already mandated by the Board for the six (6) taxicab medallions distributed through a public auction last year.
With the purpose of improving the overall condition and appearance of the taxicabs participating in the Program, this amendment proposes an entry vehicle age of three (3) model years of age and a maximum of six (6) model years of age. Wheelchair accessible cabs participating in the Ambassador Cabs Program will be allowed to operate until they turn eight (8) model years of age. A provision of this legislation provides an incentive to taxicab operators using alternative fuel vehicles by granting them priority access to the airport and seaport terminal for passenger pick-up.
Chauffeurs may not have more than two civil citations for violations of Chapter 31 in the preceding year to be eligible for the Ambassador Cabs Program. Chauffeurs will be removed from the Ambassador Cabs Program if they receive more than two (2) civil citations for any violation(s) of Chapter 31 of the Code or if they are found guilty of one citation for overcharging or refusal. A chauffeur that has been removed from the Ambassador Cabs Program will not be allowed to reapply until after a year from removal and upon application to and approval by RER. However, if a chauffeur receives a second violation for overcharging or refusal, he or she will be permanently removed from the Ambassador Cabs Program, ineligible to re-apply in the future, and will not be permitted to pick up passengers from MIA or the Port of Miami.
The proposed ordinance also provides that chauffeurs of Ambassador Cabs shall meet the dress code standards of the Code at all times. Participating chauffeurs will also be required to utilize a Sunpass transponder, open doors for passengers, and load and unload luggage.
Jack Osterholt, Deputy Mayor
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