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City Council member worries taxi stand ban will hurt firms

January 12, 2000

H.M. Linn TaxiBy DAN KULIN / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




Concerned that eliminating taxi stands in downtown Hagerstown could drive some cabbies out of business, a City Council member wants consideration to be given to establishing a taxi stand near Public Square.

City Councilman Alfred W. Boyer said Wednesday the council should consider providing for a taxi stand, perhaps in a city parking lot off the first block of East Washington Street.

"We have some taxi operators who are not radio dispatched and this decision could have a significant impact on them and that's not the city's intention," Boyer said.

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Last week, Hagerstown City Council agreed to remove taxi stands from downtown, and City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said they probably would be removed within 30 days.

Hagerstown taxi-owner Hilda M. Linn said Wednesday that removing the taxi stands from downtown Hagerstown would be "dreadful."

Linn, whose two cabs are not radio dispatched, said 60 percent to 70 percent of her customers are picked up at the taxi stand on Public Square. The rest are regularly scheduled pickups, she said. Linn said plans to remove the taxi stand has her worried about the future of her 27-year-old business, H.M. Linn Taxi.

"If they remove that (taxi stand), they should at least give us another one close to the square," she said. "This is my main source of income."

The most noticeable taxi stand is on South Potomac Street near the intersection with Washington Street at Public Square. Another taxi stand is on the first block of West Washington Street.

Some council members said the taxis have at times obstructed traffic, notably large trucks trying to turn onto South Potomac Street from Washington Street. Some said the taxi stand was more of a hang-out spot than a place to pick up customers.

Turner Taxi owner George Turner said removing the downtown taxi stands would have little impact on his business, but the change could affect some smaller companies.

Turner, who owns 23 taxis in Hagerstown, said about 98 percent of his business is radio dispatched.

"I'm going to survive anyway, but what about the others?" Turner asked.

Chris Trantules, an independent taxi driver whose been driving a cab in Hagerstown for 35 years, said, "What living I make, I make there (at the taxi stand)."

"We want to improve the downtown area but not at the expense or cost of a small business," Boyer said.

"I think we'll go ahead with the removal of the taxi stand and hopefully ... come up with an agreeable alternative," Boyer said.

City Planning Director Ric Kautz said even without a taxi stand, taxis may, just like any other vehicle, park in regular parking spaces.

"I don't know how that would work out because some days you go through downtown and there's lots of empty spaces and some days there's none," Linn said.

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