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May 3, 2011     Cape Gazette
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May 3, 2011

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_Cape Gazette NI:WS TUESDAY, MAY 3- THURSDAY, MAY 5, 2011 3 Safety in question for passengers picked up at bus stops By Ryan Mavity / The Rehoboth Beach commis- sioners are working on an ordi- inance to regulate where taxicabs pick up customers. The owners and operators of the Jolly Trolley, the Hastings family, raised concerns about taxicab drivers who approach customers waiting at trolley stops, which the Hastings say slows down traffic and creates a hazard because people walk in the middle of the street to get in- to cabs. Fixed-route operators, such as the Jolly Trolley and the DART bus, are transportation providers with designated stops and are li- censed by the state Department of Transportation. City officials raised concerns that favoring the Jolly Trolley would violate free-trade laws. City solicitor Glenn Mandalas said legally, the commissioners could regulate-fixed-route stops as long as the regulation is clear- ly fled to a safety concern. "If you were to do this purely for the benefit of jolly Trolley and to the detriment of cab driv, ers or other transportation providers, then I think you would have serious problems with restraint of trade. You need to very plainly and clearly articu- late those health and safety con- cerns you have," Mandalas said. Mayor Sam Cooper said any ordinance addressing safety con- cerns would also have to include regular cars stopping to pick up passengers, not just taxi cabs. Mandalas said the ordinance would allow passenger vehicles to expeditiously load and unload, but not impede buses or cabs. Rehoboth police Chief Keith Banks said the department's en- forcement strategy on parked ve- hicles is simply to try to keep the cars moving. Commissioner Kathy McGui- ness said the fixed-route stops should be clearly designated. There are four designated Jolly Trolley stops in Rehoboth: at the Boardwalk and Rehoboth Av- enue, V'fllage By The Sea, the Re- hoboth Beach Convention Cen- ter and behind Jack Lingo Real- tor on Christian Street. Christine -Hastings, vice president of Tran- sit U. Inc., which runs the Jolly Trolley, said the only sign for the Jolly Trolley is at the Christian Street stop. The trolley shares the generic "Bus Stop" sign at the Boardwalk and Convention Cen- ter with DART. Hastings said af- ter the Streetscape sidewalk im- provement project, city officials did not allow a new Jolly Trolley sign at those locations. "I think there should be la- beled fixed areas. I would sup- port moving forward wiLh this for pedestrian safety," McGui- ness said. Commissioner Lorraine Zellers sald,'"It is an issue, as far as public safety, if people are run- ning out into traffic to get on the bus if there's a cab there." Commissioner Pat Coluzzi said, "Taxicabs are going to their stops and beckoning people over, and it's a safety hazard." She added that the safety issue is people are getting into the cabs in the road, not along the side- walk. Commissioner Bill Sargent said, "To me, I'm convinced the fixed-route areas need protec- tiorh But I like also the language that allows a private car to come in as long as it doesn't impede. I would be uncomfortable saying that, 'Oh, private cars can come in here but taxis can't.'" Cooper, while open to clearing up the issue, said, "My concern is, I don't think we should be in the business of picking winners and losers. I could make the ar- gument that Dolle's has been here since God made Earth, and they have the best popcorn and it ought to be protected" The commissioners discussed the issue of having a taxi stand, a place where taxis could congre- gate instead of waiting in the road. Banks said cabs standing in the street become an issue around the bars and restaurants at night. City Manager Greg Fer- rese said the commissioners should also consider delivery trucks that block traffic. Ferrese said he could designate one or two spaces behind the fire hall if the commissioners wanted to go that way. Commissioner Dennis Bar- bour said, "You don't wantto dis- courage people from taking cabs when they're drunk. If it's incon- venient for them, they may start driving, and we're trying to keep RYAN MAVITY PHOTO CHRISTINE HASTINGS, vice president and public relations for the Jolly Trolley, speaks to the Rehoboth Beach commissioners on protecting fixed-route bus stops. 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