BOISE -- After the Boise City Council voted to ban smoking in bars, city parks, the Greenbelt and some parts of downtown, a ban on smoking in taxi cabs could be next.
That's just one of the changes proposed in Tuesday's Boise City Council meeting that would affect taxis operating in Boise.
All drivers would have to show they can read, speak, and write English. Debit and credit cards would have to be accepted. There would be no tobacco use in taxis by drivers or passengers. Cabs would be inspected more often. No pickup/dropoff zones would be extended to seven days-a-week. The proposal would also establish an age-limit on vehicles, create out-of-service decals, and prohibit taxis for personal use.
KTVB talked to taxi drivers about the possible changes and they realize the smoking ban could be a problem.
That's going to tick people off, said Christopher Garcia, a taxi driver in Boise.
Many also had a problem with requiring drivers to take debit and credit cards, saying the fees associated with that put a major dent in their already shrinking bottom line.
Big interest and fees and charges, and it's not worth it to take the cards, said Denis Miljkovic who's been driving a taxi in Boise for about a decade. It's almost 10 percent off.
But drivers also supported the increased safety measures.
A lot of this wouldn't be a problem for me, said Garcia.
They also supported English requirement, even though most speak it as their second language.
There are too many new cabs, and people don't speak English and don't understand, said Predrag Tadic, a taxi driver in Boise. Customers come and they have the address and everything, but people still don't understand where to go.
What would happen with any American who goes into Hungary or Romania and didn't speak Romanian or Hungarian? They would have to learn their languages, said Miljkovic.
But many drivers just want more details on how these changes might affect their livelihood.
Some of these are kind of vague, said Garcia. I'd have to see the actual wording of it.
One of the major details drivers are curious about is the age requirement of cars. The city does say existing taxis will be grandfathered in. Many other details won't be hammered until later.
Those drivers can let the city know exactly how they feel about the possible changes. Boise is taking input from taxi license holders for the next two weeks. The council and the mayor will review that and set public hearing dates.