Drivers say new law is running taxis out of Lawrenceville

by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga.,None - Police said a sting in Lawrenceville netted the arrests of six unauthorized cab drivers, but now those drivers tell Channel 2 Action News the city is trying to drive them out of business.

"Like everybody else in Georgia, we just wanted to serve the community," taxi driver Wilson Rafael told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh.

Rafael is one of about a dozen drivers who said he can longer provide his service in Lawrenceville because of changes to a city ordinance.

The law now requires drivers to carry a $300,000 insurance policy and city officials want cabs to be owned by taxi companies and not individual drivers. Drivers told Kavanaugh they can't afford it.

Driver Claudia Blasnich told Kavanaugh it's frustrating for the drivers and people trying to catch a cab, especially her customers regular who are trying to get to work, school and hospitals.

Lawrenceville Mayor Judy Johnson said the high premiums are in place for safety and the city is trying to crack down on fly-by-night taxi companies.

"We do not want taxi cabs operating without the proper license or the proper insurance. That's just safety for our citizens," Johnson said.

"We had reports of too many individual companies or individual taxi drivers that were trying to skirt around the issue and say they had insurance when they really didn't," she said.

Lawrenceville Police are making sure they don't, including their sting on Friday that led to six arrests.

Officials said because of the new regulations there is no longer a single permitted taxi company left in the city of Lawrenceville.

Channel 2 Action News

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