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Watch Out for Unscrupulous Taxi Operators

 

Every day, New Jersey’s taxicab and limousine operators provide vital transportation services to both state residents and visitors to the Garden State. The overwhelming majority of these taxi/limo operators are law-abiding men and women who, among other things, pay the legitimate amount of commercial auto insurance premium required for the level of risk associated with their vehicles’ use and territory of operation.

However, some who operate taxi services in New York City and urban New Jersey seek to masquerade as limousine operators in rural New Jersey in order to qualify for lower premiums.

Many, but not all, municipalities in New Jersey have local limousine ordinances that are intended to regulate limousine operators and protect public safety. However, unscrupulous operators have found ways to work around these regulations to obtain the licenses they need in order to procure “Corp Codes” from the NJMVC. They establish “mail drop” addresses in suburban or rural communities to facilitate the delivery of mail and give the appearance of a legitimate operation.

New Jersey’s municipal clerks can play a key role in defeating these fraud schemes by taking the additional steps to become more aware of the fraudulent taxi/limo operators intent on preying on the state’s suburban and rural communities. Are they seeing a pattern of limousine license applications that is inconsistent with their towns’ transportation needs? Can their municipalities strengthen limousine operators’ license application screening processes and local ordinances governing limousine/taxi operations? Are they aware of what other municipalities have done to address the problem? Meetings of Town Clerk Associations and the New Jersey State League of Municipalities present excellent opportunities to discuss the problem and develop solutions.

If you see a suspicious increase in applications for limousine operations in your municipality or township, please contact a representative from the New Jersey Automobile Insurance Plan’s Special Investigations Unit as promptly as possible. The telephone number is (856) 722-0030; the e-mail address is njaip@aipso.com

This article was originally published in New Jersey Municipalities magazine. Vol. 86, No. 6, June 2009

 

 

 

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