SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

February 27, 2013

Cabs get OK to operate in town

Selectmen grant temporary permission to firms that apply for license by March 7

(Continued)

Ash Street resident Laura Powell, who said she has a handicap that prevents her from driving, was also stranded.

“This week, I was unable to take my son to an appointment because I could not get a taxi,” Powell said. She favored the idea of giving cab companies temporary permission but said the inability to get a taxi “caused a lot of stress in our home.”

She wondered why the town had not pursued cab operators to get the proper license in the town all these years.

“It got swept under the rug,” said Selectman Dan Bennett, who said the issue was not a priority for the board.

Selectman Trask said it is not up to the town to chase a businesses to get a license.

“The onus is on the business,” said Trask, who told Powell he was “sorry for angst it caused you.”

While the vote was unanimous to grant temporary permission, it came with some back-and-forth as some board members questioned the extent of the police crackdown.

“The Danvers Police Department had the best intentions,” Selectman Keith Lucy said. “But, they were probably heavy-handed.” He, too, apologized to those who were stranded. He noted that there are liquor establishments that depend on being able to call a cab for a customers who are too drunk to drive.

The crackdown was prompted when selectmen Chairman Bill Clark on Feb. 5 pointed out an ad by North Shore Taxi in The Salem News that advertised a Danvers phone number.

“It may have been heavy-handed, but it was what was needed to get cabs in compliance,” Clark said.

Other board members were quick to say that it was not the Police Department’s fault, given, as Trask said, “we had four cab companies operating illegally in town.”

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