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City wants better taxicab identification

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Taxicabs doing business in Ogdensburg will need to be better-identified than they are now if the city has its way.

The City Council will hold a public hearing at its June 10 meeting on a resolution requiring taxicabs to have a sign identifying the company name and a telephone number on both front doors.

Councilor Wayne L. Ashley, the resolution’s sponsor, said that a “Taxi” dome light on a roof and a telephone number on a door aren’t enough.

“There’s no accountability for the taxicabs that are

running around the city,” he said. “It (the more thorough identification) just leads to better accountability.”

Better accountability, according to Mr. Ashley, has been prompted by suspicion.

He has been told stories of marginally identified taxicabs pulling up to a handful of residences, its drivers going inside and then emerging with no passengers in sight.

Mr. Ashley said that illegal drug activity is suspected.

“I don’t think that they’re selling Avon,” the retired Ogdensburg police sergeant said.

Mr. Ashley’s former boss agreed that the suspicions are probably valid.

“It is indicative of illegal activity,” said Police Chief Richard J. Polniak Jr.

Mr. Polniak wouldn’t comment on whether the police department is investigating the same claims Mr. Ashley has made, but added that it considers all tips that it receives about illegal drug activity in the city.

TNT Taxi owner/driver Brian D. Bates said Friday he had heard the same stories that Mr. Ashley has of allegedly drug-trafficking cabbies.

Mr. Bates is all for Mr. Ashley’s resolution.

“Most definitely,” he said. “That way, customers know who they’re dealing with.”

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