City Council approves taxi cab credit ordinance, re-elects President & VP

Nick Sudheimer

The Minneapolis City Council approved an ordinance Friday requiring taxi cabs in the city to accept credit cards effective June 1. The council passed the ordinance 11-2.

Councilman Gary Schiff spearheaded the ordinance after receiving a complaint from a bouncer that people were often left stranded because cab drivers refused to accept credit. Schiff told the Minnesota Daily in November that the proposal is not only about meeting passenger preferences, but helping drivers as well. He added that research in other cities shows an increase in tips when credit cards are accepted.

The ordinance is not without its opponents, however.  Yemane Mebrahtu, president of the Taxicab Drivers and Owners Association, told the Star Tribune that taxi companies, which pay the bank fees from credit cards, often pass along higher costs to the driver, which can amount to a fee of 5 to 7 percent passed to the driver. Drivers can’t make up the cost through higher rates because the metered rate is fixed.

On an unrelated note, the council also unanimously reelected Barb Johnson as council president and Robert Lilligren as Vice President. Johnson was elected to the council in 1997 and became council president in 2006. Lilligren was elected to the council in 2001.