Cedar Rapids city officials will start revoking taxicab and limousine licenses if owners don’t pay their red light and speed camera fines.
The message went out to taxi and limo owners through letters late last month after Cedar Rapids police noticed they had more than 90 delinquent citations for cabs alone.
Cedar Rapids cab owner Jon, who asked that his last name not be used, received his letter Monday from the city clerk’s office. It said he owes more than $1,400 in delinquent camera fines by Oct. 28.
“We could lose our city cab licenses,” said Jon. “Without the taxicab license I find another career.”
Cedar Rapids police said the crackdown has safety in mind.
“We’re trying to get people to slow down and make it a safer city. Cab drivers included,” said officer Mark Asplund. He also cited city code that requires fines be paid for cab and limo licenses to be valid.
“A license shall not be issued if the vehicle owner has any outstanding finical obligations owed to the city,” said Asplund, reciting the code.
Cab owners like Jon call the move unfair. They’re frustrated because it was cab drivers who broke the law, yet owners are left paying fines. “Essentially, I have to incur that debt,” said Jon.
Jon said he’s tried to cut wages from drivers to cover costs, but they quit. He says he even had a driver request citations be placed on his record, but the city refused.
“They would not do that, but instead alleviated 11 of them. They just wrote them off arbitrarily,” said Jon.
Asplund said city code limits them from moving responsibility to other people. Essentially, owners are stuck with the fines.
“We, the city, don’t have the ability to transfer liability. If the car is registered to you, it is in your name,” said Asplund.
Jon said he and other owners want reform. and are taking their grievances to higher authorities.
“We’re talking to state county and also federal officials to see if this is constitutional,” said Jon.
City officials said they will be offering payment plans with extended deadlines for those that need it. Before any cab or limo license is revoked, the city will give owners an opportunity to appeal. Jon said he’s going to fight paying as long as possible.