CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Cape Coral is cracking down on cab drivers, saying if you pick up people in the city, you must have a permit. City leaders say the steps to getting that permit ensure your safety.
The city has rules for taxis that date back decades, but WINK News found out they weren't necessarily being enforced, and are very broad.
The cab companies we talked to support regulations, but question the need for a permit in Cape Coral, if they've already have one in Fort Myers.
Christopher Specht, owner of Amber Taxi, first heard of the push for an official Cape Coral permit, thanks to a phone call from the city last week.
"I think anything that helps protect the citizens of Cape Coral and Lee County in general is a good thing," he said.
The rules require each driver have a background check, a physical exam, and a vehicle inspection. Most of that, he's already had to do, to be allowed to pick people up in Fort Myers.
"There's a lot of duplication in vehicle inspections, background checks, things like that. It would be great if there was reciprocity with the county, and the two cities could kind of talk to each other," Specht said.
Most of his drivers are already taking the steps. But for Julie Byrd, it's too much money, and she's moving on to another job. "We just had Fort Myers permits and that was expensive but worth it. But this is just too much," Byrd said.
Sgt. Dana Costson with the Cape Coral Police Department says this is a step to ensure public safety. "The process of denying a permit to somebody who we don't want operating a taxi in Cape Coral is very clear cut and very simple," he explained.
SWFL Transportation Group, owner of Bluebird Taxi and Yellow Cab tells WINK News it supports regulations in the industry and is getting ready to do the necessary steps. They also voiced the same concerns about the duplication of steps for permit qualifications.
Drivers have 30 days to fill out the necessary paperwork. If they're caught without it, they could face suspension.