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MTS Board Approves Stricter Taxicab Penalties

(SAN DIEGO, CA) – The Metropolitan Transit Service (MTS) Board of Directors has unanimously approved penalty guidelines designed to improve taxicab vehicle conditions and safety in San Diego.

“Taxicabs will be safer thanks to the guidelines passed by MTS today,” said Councilmember Todd Gloria, a member of the MTS Board and Chair of the MTS Taxicab Committee. “The new stricter penalties will improve compliance among taxicab permit holders, and the passengers and general public will be better protected.”

The new guidelines increase the penalties for dozens of violations ranging from malfunctioning safety equipment to inappropriate tire pressure and from a lack of proof of insurance to display of driver identification. Previous administrative penalties proved inadequate in ensuring necessary vehicle maintenance.

Through intensified vehicle field inspections, MTS found that an alarming number of taxicabs were found to be in unacceptable condition. Inspections between January 2008 and February 2009 resulted in 85% of vehicles being removed from service for poor condition. Inspections between March 1, 2009 and June 30, 2009 yielded a 70% failure rate. Poor conditions included bad tires, unsafe brakes, body damage and unsecured seats. Vehicles had to be fixed before returning to the road.

“MTS will continue our strong oversight and enforcement of vehicle safety regulations. Should the new penalties not result in better vehicle maintenance, we will consider additional steps,” said Councilmember Gloria. “Public safety will not be compromised.”