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Salem selectmen look at doing away with taxi licenses

SALEM — Town officials recommend selectmen eliminate a town code requiring the licensing of taxicabs that has gone unenforced for decades.

As selectmen have been working through public hearings to update the town codes, they have come across a handful that have gone unenforced for years.

One is a code that requires cab companies in town to pay a $25 fee for their first taxi and $10 for each additional vehicle. Selectmen asked Town Manager Keith Hickey to explore whether this is a code the town wants to consider enforcing again or if it should be done away.

“After doing some research, after it was discussed with the board a couple of weeks ago, we found that there were two taxi companies in Salem,” said Hickey. “We learned in talking to other communities that have licensed taxicabs in the past that they found it very cumbersome to do so.”

Hickey said the code was put in place before the state began inspecting vehicles. With the state performing inspections, Hickey said the code is outdated and no longer necessary.

Even if the town were to enforce the code, Hickey said the administration of it would be more costly than the fees brought in from the taxis.

Selectman James Keller said he would like to see Hickey get more information from the state prior to the June 2 second public hearing on the code regarding how the state manages companies that are allowed to operate taxis.

Local businessman and former selectman candidate Michael Petrilli said the town should be licensing taxicabs to help make sure the cars are insured and the drivers are properly licensed.

“Any Joe Schmoe can drive around and pick someone up because they might have a magnet on the side of their car,” Petrilli said. “I think we should be very worried about this.”