BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Traditional bright yellow-colored taxi cabs in Birmingham could be a thing of the past if city councilors approve proposed changes to longstanding ordinances during Tuesday’s city council meeting.
Birmingham Yellow Cab is asking the city to revisit ordinances that haven’t been revised in decades.
“Our ordinance was based on that historical model where all of the taxi cabs have to be a uniform color. They have to have the information painted, actually painted on the car, then have to have the light on the top that indicates whether they’re in service or not,” said City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, who also chairs the city’s transportation committee.
According to O’Quinn, Yellow Cab wants to add new vehicles to their fleet in an effort to keep up with ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft.
“They want to modernize the way that they operate to go to an app based platform where you can request a ride and keep track of what your fare is,” said O’Quinn.
O’Quinn says relaxing the ordinances would help the company buy new vehicles for the fleet and allow older vehicles to be sold a little easier.
“Not having to paint them and not having to drill holes in the roof for that light allows them to re-sell them more frequently, so they are planning to turn over the vehicles more frequently,” said O’Quinn.
Vehicles would still be branded with the company name and vehicle information, but it would not be permanent.
The city wants to make sure neighbors have choices when it comes to public transportation. O’Quinn believes relaxed restrictions will help.
“It adds some competition too because Uber and Lyft have surge pricing which means the more demand there is, the higher the price goes up and this service, that fare will not change, so when we have events, they’re going to be very competitive and that is a good thing,” said O’Quinn.
O’Quinn said Yellow Cab plans to add a visible display in vehicles so that customers can see the cost of their ride in real time; similar to ridesharing platforms.
Yellow Cab and other companies currently transport patients for non-emergency medical care, such as doctors appointments. O’Quinn said another proposed change would allow the cab company to bill Medicare for the services, rather than the customer directly.
The Birmingham City Council meets Tuesday morning to consider the changes.
Stay with CBS 42 for updates.