City of Gardner, MA
Worcester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Gardner 5-6-2013 by Ord. No. 1559. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 423-1 Purpose and scope.

In order to promote public safety and provide for the safe passage of vehicles on public ways within the City of Gardner, the following chapter is established regulating taxi and livery businesses located in the City of Gardner and their respective vehicles, and operators and drivers. This chapter applies to all businesses with physical locations within the City of Gardner, including but not limited to garages, waiting rooms, taxi stands, offices, or terminals from which a taxi or livery business is operated as defined herein.

§ 423-2 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CITY
The City of Gardner, Massachusetts.
DRIVER
The person, licensed hereunder, employed by or otherwise contracted with the taxi/livery business to drive a licensed taxi/livery vehicle to pick up and transport the passenger(s) from one place to another. As specified in the definition below for "operator," as used the word "driver" does not mean "operator."
LICENSE AUTHORITY
City of Gardner Chief of Police, or his or her designee.
LIVERY VEHICLE
A vehicle, as licensed hereunder, marked as such which engages in the transportation of passengers only at a predetermined rate pursuant to a prearranged contract for hire, does not operate on a fixed route or roving basis, is hired by means of a telephone request or contract arranged in advance of the time designated for pickup, does not and is not available for picking up passengers upon being hailed or solicited by means other than direct contact by the customer and has livery plates issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Such vehicles shall generally be engaged as private transport vehicles for private functions or assignments not traditionally associated with a hackney or taxi vehicle or regularly available for transportation services within the City of Gardner. Vehicles used to provide services to funeral homes shall not be considered livery vehicles under this chapter.
OPERATOR
Any person, partnership, unincorporated association, company, or entity licensed hereunder who manages or otherwise operates a taxi business and/or a livery business on behalf of, or as an agent of, the owner of such business. As used in this chapter "operator" does not mean "driver," which is defined above, but an individual operator may also be a driver if he or she is also licensed as such under this chapter.
OWNER
The legal owner, whether an individual, partnership, unincorporated association, company, or entity, of any business which offers taxi or livery services in the City of Gardner as defined herein. As set forth below, the owner must be licensed as set forth hereunder in order to conduct or operate said taxi/livery business in the City of Gardner. It is expected, but not required, that the owner also be the operator (definition above) of said taxi or livery service business, but the owner need not necessarily be the operator if said business is being professionally managed and/or operated by some other person or legal entity, as licensed hereunder.
PLACE OF BUSINESS
The physical location within the City of Gardner from which the business of a taxi or livery service is conducted.
PUBLIC PLACE
Public property or private property to which the public has lawful access.
TAXI VEHICLE
A passenger car, station wagon or van used for the transportation of persons for compensation. Taxi vehicles, licensed hereunder, shall be marked with the taxi company name and telephone number. Such vehicle does not operate on a fixed route and is hired by means of a telephone request to the taxi company or by hailing or soliciting the taxi by a person(s) in the open at the time transportation is needed. Payment for transportation service is made at the time of taxi service.

§ 423-3 Rules and regulations for taxi or livery owners/operators.

A. 
Vehicles; exclusion. Every taxi or livery vehicle as defined herein which is dispatched from a place of business is subject to this chapter, excluding funeral vehicles.
B. 
Taxi/livery driver's license required. No person or persons shall establish, use or drive any taxi or livery vehicle for the conveyance of persons for hire, from a place of business, unless such person(s) shall have obtained a license to do so as hereinafter provided.
C. 
Owner's license and operator's license. Each owner of a taxi or livery service business and each operator of a taxi or livery service business shall not conduct or operate any such taxi or livery business without a license as provided hereunder. Prior to conducting or operating any such taxi or livery business, each such owner of a taxi or livery service business shall apply for a City of Gardner owner's license, and each such operator of a taxi or livery service business shall apply for an operator's license, on a form provided by the City of Gardner Police Department. The owner and/or operator shall complete the application fully, accurately and truthfully. The Chief of Police, or his or her designee, may grant the license as herein provided under this chapter. The fee for each license granted shall be $25, payable to the City Clerk. Each license shall be effective for a period of one year, beginning April 1. Any license granted between April 1 of one year and April 1 of the next year shall be effective for only that portion of the year remaining until the next April 1, and the fee for such mid-term license shall also be $25.
D. 
Taxi stands. Taxi stands may be assigned by the Chief of Police under the direction of the City Council.
E. 
Fares and rates; display. Each owner, operator and driver of any taxi vehicle shall be responsible for displaying the fares and/or rates conspicuously within each such vehicle, and the same shall be posted at the place of business of each taxi service. All changes to taxi fares and/or rates shall be presented to the Chief of Police, or his or her designee, three business days prior to the resulting change, subject to his or her approval.
F. 
Maximum fares; prior approval. No owner or person having charge of any taxi vehicle shall demand or receive a higher rate than that presented to and approved by the Chief of Police as provided hereunder.
G. 
Open display of taxi/livery driver's license. Each owner, operator and driver, or any other person having charge of or control over any taxi or livery vehicle, shall display at all times when operating or standing awaiting a fare the license issued by the City of Gardner to drive such taxi/livery vehicle, and such license shall be clearly visible to the occupant(s) in the back seat.
H. 
Violations. Whoever violates any of the provisions above shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $100 for each offense. For violations consisting of operating a taxi or livery service without a license as required herein, each day such business is operated without a license shall constitute a separate offence. Fines are more fully set forth under § 423-10 of this chapter, below.

§ 423-4 Taxi and/or livery owner and operator responsibilities.

A. 
Taxi/livery vehicle licenses; cost of license. The owner of a taxi or livery business shall apply for a taxi/livery vehicle license with the Chief of Police, or his or her designee, for each vehicle used in said business. Every application for a license authorizing the use of a taxi or livery vehicle shall state the rated number of passengers which such vehicle is designed to carry, the vehicle identification number of the vehicle, the Massachusetts automobile registration number, and such other matters of information as the Chief of Police, or his or her designee, may from time to time require. Taxi and livery vehicles shall be licensed from the garage or location at which they are kept, and the license shall also contain the address of the place of business of the taxi or livery business for which the vehicle is in use, and in no case from stands, public or private. The cost of each taxi/livery vehicle license shall be $100. A taxi/livery vehicle license is nontransferable and may not be assumed or assigned.
B. 
Time of applications; forms. New applications for taxi/livery vehicle licenses may be filed at any time, but applications for renewal of licenses already in force shall be filed annually on or before April 1. Applications shall be on official forms provided by the Chief of Police obtainable at the Police Department and they shall contain all the information therein required, and the application fee shall be paid at the time the application is made.
C. 
Driver information. Every owner, and operator, if any, of a taxi or livery business shall furnish the Chief of Police, in writing, the name, address and valid driver's license number of each driver employed by the owner. An owner, and an operator, if any, of a taxi or livery business shall not employ a driver, nor allow a driver to operate a taxi or livery vehicle, unless the driver has obtained a City of Gardner taxi/livery driver's license as provided herein. A copy of each taxi driver license and each livery driver license of each driver employed by the taxi or livery business is to be kept by the owner, and by the operator, if any, of said taxi or livery business during the period that the driver is employed. The owner, and the operator, if any, of a taxi business or a livery business shall return immediately to the Chief of Police the City of Gardner taxi or livery driver's license of any driver that ceases to be in the owner's employ.
D. 
Daily check of identities of drivers. Before employing a taxi vehicle driver or a livery vehicle driver, the owner, and the operator, if any, of the taxi business or livery business shall compare the driver's Massachusetts driver's license with his or her photograph and his or her taxi/livery driver's license to verify that he or she is legally licensed to operate a motor vehicle in Massachusetts. This procedure shall be repeated daily, and no vehicle shall be assigned to a driver who does not possess all of his or her credentials, or who does not fully comply with all the requirements, as set forth herein.
E. 
Surrender of vehicle licenses upon divesting ownership. Any licensee who shall cease to be the owner of a taxi or livery vehicle shall at once surrender to the Chief of Police the taxi/livery vehicle license in connection with the vehicle no longer owned.
F. 
Change of location of business. When a licensed owner, and/or a licensed operator, if any, changes the place of business of the taxi/livery business, or the place within the City of Gardner at which a taxi or livery vehicle owned by such owner/operator is garaged, the owner/operator shall, within 24 hours of such change, notify the Chief of Police in writing and shall at the same time provide the new address accordingly. As set forth above, the place of business must be within the City of Gardner.
G. 
Required signage on taxi vehicles. There shall be affixed on the center of each front door and on the rear of every licensed taxi vehicle the taxi business name and license number and the business telephone number in figures not less than five inches by five inches in size in legible and clearly visible lettering. Livery vehicles are exempt from this subsection.
H. 
Cleanliness; upkeep. The interior and exterior of every vehicle licensed as taxi or livery vehicle is to be kept clean. All taxi or livery vehicles shall be thoroughly cleaned, inspected and repaired, if necessary, by the owner at least once a week. Owners shall also be responsible for general upkeep of each vehicle.
I. 
No advertising on vehicles. No advertising matter shall be permitted in or upon taxi or livery vehicles without written permission of the Chief of Police.
J. 
Immediate removal of unsafe vehicles from service. The Chief of Police or his or her designee shall be authorized to order the owner, operator, if any, and driver of any taxi or livery vehicle to immediately remove from public use and from all public ways any unsafe vehicle or any vehicle in a dangerous condition.
K. 
Intercepting communications/fares of other taxi businesses prohibited. No owner, operator, if any, or driver of a taxi vehicle or a livery vehicle shall have in the vehicle, place of business, or on his or her person at any time, or use, any scanning device, telephone, radio, or any other apparatus or instrument to intercept communications and/or fares intended for other taxi companies.

§ 423-5 Taxi and/or livery driver responsibilities.

A. 
Taxi/livery driver licenses; fee. Every person employed by any taxi/livery business in the City of Gardner as a driver shall apply for a City of Gardner taxi/livery driver's license. Every applicant for a taxi/livery driver's license shall present for examination a valid Massachusetts driver's license issued to him by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles and shall agree to submit to a CORI check and a Massachusetts driver's history check, to which each such prospective taxi/livery vehicle driver shall agree on his or her application for such license. An applicant possessing an out-of-state driver's license may be granted a license at the discretion of the Chief of Police or his/her designee. The date and number thereof shall be entered on the application and on the taxi/livery driver's license granted by the Chief of Police. The application fee for each taxi/livery driver's license shall be $25. Each such license shall be effective for one year from date of issue, at which time the driver shall renew the license if he or she will continue to be employed as a taxi/livery driver by a taxi/livery business doing business in the City of Gardner.
B. 
Maximum passengers. A person licensed to drive a taxi or livery vehicle shall not permit a greater number of passengers to be carried in the vehicle than designed or rated for such vehicle. No person shall be permitted to ride outside the body of such licensed vehicle.
C. 
Payments in advance of service; receipts. The driver of a taxi or livery vehicle may demand the legal rate of fare in advance and has the right to refuse transport unless so paid. When requested to do so, a driver of a taxi/livery vehicle shall provide the person paying the fare a receipt for the fare paid.
D. 
Trip logs; lost property. Every licensed driver of any taxi or livery vehicle shall keep a record of all trips made on a form approved by the Chief of Police. At the termination of each trip, the driver shall search his vehicle for any property which may have been lost or left therein. Articles thus found, unless sooner claimed by the owner, must be reported to and provided to Police Headquarters immediately.
E. 
Decorum of drivers; compliance with laws. All drivers shall be courteous to the public, clean and neat in appearance, shall not smoke or use tobacco in any form while transporting passengers, shall not drink intoxicating liquors during their hours of employment or within two hours of the start of a shift or the pickup of a passenger, shall operate their vehicles at a reasonable rate of speed, and shall obey and be in compliance with all applicable state and local rules, regulations, ordinances and laws.
F. 
Surrender of license upon cessation of employment. Any licensed driver who ceases to be employed as a driver of a taxi or livery vehicle licensed hereunder shall immediately surrender his City of Gardner taxi/livery driver's license to the Chief of Police.
G. 
Violation of liquor or drug laws; revocation and suspension. The City of Gardner taxi/livery driver's license of any driver who violates any local, state or federal liquor law and/or any local, state or federal narcotic drug law shall be subject to immediate revocation and/or suspension by the Chief of Police, or his or her designee, at his or her sole discretion.
H. 
Change of vehicle registration. Upon any change in the certificate of registration issued by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles of a motor vehicle licensed as a taxi vehicle or as a livery vehicle hereunder, the licensed owner, and operator, if any, of such vehicle shall immediately present to the Chief of Police such certificate of registration, together with the corresponding City of Gardner taxi or livery vehicle license.
I. 
Cooperation; inquiries. The licensee of a taxi/livery driver's license hereunder shall answer fully and civilly any questions or other inquiries asked of him or her by a police officer.

§ 423-6 Inspections.

Inspections of taxi and livery vehicles used in accordance with the requirement of this chapter in the City of Gardner are to be made under the direction of the Chief of Police under the following procedures:
A. 
Every taxi or livery vehicle shall be submitted for an annual inspection in the month of May, unless otherwise directed at the discretion of the Chief of Police. These inspections shall be under the supervision of specially designated police officers assigned by the Chief of Police. Taxi or livery establishments will be made aware of the exact date and times for these inspections to allow sufficient time to prepare for said inspections.
B. 
Upon successful completion of inspection, each taxi or livery vehicle shall have affixed to the right rear window of the vehicle an inspection label with an expiration date, along with the taxi or livery vehicle number.
C. 
A permanent taxi vehicle license number shall be assigned to each licensed taxi vehicle, and a permanent livery vehicle license number shall be assigned to each licensed livery vehicle.
D. 
It shall be a requirement for any taxi/livery vehicle license that the owner, and operator, if any, submit each such vehicle for inspection before placing the vehicle into taxi or livery service. Upon successful completion, said vehicle shall have the aforementioned inspection label affixed to it.
E. 
At the sole discretion of the Chief of Police or his or her designee, all taxi and livery vehicles are subject to immediate inspection when he or she believes any taxi or livery vehicle may be unsafe or otherwise unsuitable for taxi or livery operation.
F. 
The Chief of Police or his or her designee shall have the power to remove any unsafe taxi/livery vehicle, as well as any taxi/livery vehicle otherwise in a dangerous condition, from the road immediately, and at that time the vehicle shall not be used in any taxi or livery business in the City of Gardner until further notice and approval from the Chief of Police.
G. 
No owner, operator, if any, or driver of a taxi vehicle or a livery vehicle shall have in the vehicle, place of business, or on his or her person at any time, or use, any scanning device, telephone, radio, or any other apparatus or instrument to intercept communications and/or fares intended for other taxi companies.

§ 423-7 Suspension or revocation of licenses.

A City of Gardner license to operate or conduct a taxi or livery service business, and any City of Gardner taxi/livery driver's license, may be suspended or revoked by the Chief of Police, or his or her designee, after notice to the holder of such license. The Chief of Police or his or her designee is authorized to suspend or revoke an owner's, and operator's, if any, license if the Police Chief or his or her designee determines that the license holder:
A. 
Has knowingly made a false or inaccurate statement on any record or application required by any of the provisions of this chapter;
B. 
Is or has been, in any jurisdiction, convicted or subject to a finding of sufficient facts for a finding of guilty in regard to any felony offense;
C. 
Is or has been, in any jurisdiction, convicted or subject to a finding of guilty in regard to any misdemeanor offense involving assault, assault and battery, threatening, larceny, fraud, prostitution, solicitation of prostitution, gaming, illegal sale or distribution of an alcoholic beverage, or any statute, rule, ordinance, bylaw or other regulation relative to taxi and/or livery services;
D. 
Has knowingly permitted the operation/driving of a taxi or livery vehicle by a person who is not the holder of a valid City of Gardner taxi or livery license to operate a taxi or livery vehicle;
E. 
Has permitted or otherwise allowed a vehicle to be utilized for the transportation of passengers of a taxi or livery service, or otherwise to be used for hire as a taxi/livery service, without a taxi or livery vehicle license;
F. 
Has knowingly permitted any taxi or livery vehicle to be used in the commission or furtherance of any criminal conduct;
G. 
Has refused to permit any inspection authorized or required by the provisions of this chapter or otherwise as ordered by the Chief of Police or his or her designee;
H. 
Has failed to prepare, maintain or file any report, record or notice required by the provisions of this chapter or otherwise as ordered by the Chief of Police or his or her designee; or
I. 
Has failed to comply with any provision of this chapter.

§ 423-8 Denial or revocation of taxi/livery driver's license.

The Chief of Police or his or her designee reserves the right to revoke any taxi/livery driver's license and/or to deny any taxi/livery driver's license application if the licensee/applicant:
A. 
Has not fully and accurately completed the application;
B. 
Has not attained the age of 18 years;
C. 
Is not the holder of a valid Massachusetts motor vehicle operator's license authorizing the operation of passenger-type motor vehicles;
D. 
Has, in any jurisdiction, been convicted of a felony or, in regard to any felony offense, has a finding of sufficient facts for a finding of guilty;
E. 
Has, in any jurisdiction, been convicted of distribution of any controlled substance;
F. 
Has, in any jurisdiction, been convicted of or subject to a finding of sufficient facts for a finding of guilty relative to a criminal offense that involved causing death or serious bodily injury in a motor vehicle accident;
G. 
Has, in any jurisdiction, during the past five years been convicted of a misdemeanor offense or, in regard to a misdemeanor offense, had a finding of sufficient facts for a finding of guilty, if said misdemeanor offense involved assault, assault and battery, threatening, larceny, fraud, prostitution, solicitation of prostitution, gaming, illegal sale or distribution of an alcoholic beverage, use or possession of a controlled substance, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor or drugs, operating a motor vehicle in a race or in a negligent or reckless manner, leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident, or refusing to stop or submit to a police officer;
H. 
Has, in any jurisdiction, during the past five years been involved in two or more at-fault motor vehicle accidents;
I. 
Has, in any jurisdiction, during the past five years been found responsible for or guilty of two or more civil or criminal violations of motor vehicle law relating to the unsafe or dangerous operation of a motor vehicle;
J. 
Has, in any jurisdiction, a driving record indicating the unsafe or dangerous operation of a motor vehicle or a disregard for motor vehicle law; or
K. 
Has, within the previous five years, had a permit to operate a taxi or livery vehicle revoked for any reason.

§ 423-9 Notice of suspension or revocation.

Upon the suspension or revocation of a license to operate or conduct a taxi or livery service business, or to drive a taxi/livery vehicle, the Chief of Police shall give written notice of such suspension or revocation, and the reason therefor, to the taxi or livery service business owner and driver, if applicable.

§ 423-10 Violations and penalties.

A. 
In addition to all other remedies and sanctions imposed under this chapter and by law, there is hereby imposed a civil penalty in the amount of $100 for failure to observe the standards established, and requirements and restrictions imposed, under this chapter. For each subsequent offense within any given twelve-month time frame, the civil penalty shall be increased by $50, not to exceed any amounts as provided in MGL c. 40, § 21, and any amendments thereto. All penalties and fines may be recovered by noncriminal disposition in accordance with MGL c. 40, § 21D, and any person taking cognizance of a violation of this chapter which he or she is empowered to enforce, as an alternative to initiating criminal proceedings, may give to the offender a written notice to appear before the clerk of the district court having jurisdiction thereof at any time during office hours, not later than 21 days after the date of such notice.
B. 
Civil penalties shall be paid within 15 days at the Gardner City Hall Collector's office. If not so paid, the City may initiate a civil action in the name of the City in the nature of debt to collect the unpaid penalties, as provided under the City of Gardner's ordinances and/or state law. In the event that the civil penalty is not paid within that time, and unless an appeal has been properly filed and is pending, each owner's, operator's and/or driver's license shall be revoked or suspended, at the discretion of the Chief of Police or his or her designee, until the entire debt is paid.
C. 
Any license properly to be otherwise issued or renewed under the terms of this chapter shall not be issued or renewed in the event civil penalties for violations are overdue and remain unpaid by the applicant or license holder.
D. 
In addition to the levying of civil penalties for violations of this chapter, violations shall also be punishable as a misdemeanor offense under Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article I, Enforcement, of this Code and/or state law, and each day's continuing violation shall constitute a separate offense.

§ 423-11 Grievance procedure.

A. 
The levying of civil penalties shall be initiated by any police officer, whereupon the license holder shall be given written notice of the infraction committed, along with a statement that a civil penalty is being imposed. The notice shall inform the license holder that he or she may appeal the civil penalty within 10 days to the Chief of Police or his or her designee. If an appeal is made, a hearing will be held before the Chief of Police or his or her designee, who shall within 15 days of the hearing affirm, reverse or take any other action as to the imposition of the penalty based upon his or her sole discretion.
B. 
It shall be the applicant's responsibility and burden to produce substantial evidence at the time of the hearing that the officer's decision was unfounded or was otherwise inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter.
C. 
Any license subsequently issued in this manner may be limited or conditioned as the Chief of Police or his or her designee sees fit at his or her sole discretion in the best interest of public safety.