Members paused, however, wondering over the legality of that. Walsh promised to pursue the issue further.
The City Council expanded the number of licenses from 30 to 45 last year upon the requests of the taxi companies. At that time, councilors indicated that the licenses would be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Deputy Police Chief Marty Cohan explained that in addition to the cab licenses, there have been 142 licenses issued for drivers. Each driver must meet standards established by the City Council, including a criminal records check. The cabs themselves are inspected twice a year.
Individual cabs are generally licensed to multiple communities, usually including Beverly, Salem and Danvers. Councilors initially gave concerns about the environment as one reason for granting more licenses. Currently, some cabs from Salem taking people to Peabody lack the license to pick up fares going back to Salem. Thus, they must make the trip empty, wasting fuel.