MINNEAPOLIS -- You could soon have a very different experience riding in a cab that operates in Minneapolis. On Monday, the city's regulatory committee approved some changes to the taxi code.
1. Dress code: drivers would no longer be allowed to wear t-shirts.
2. Radio: the driver would have to ask the passenger's permission before turning it on.
3. Cell phone: no talking on the phone when there's a customer in the car.
"Limit the use of phones when there is a passenger in the vehicle but if they're off the clock, if they are not driving somebody then I don't think we should put rules on that," said Minneapolis city council member Gary Schiff.
Rainbow Taxi has about 150 drivers. Owner Zack Williams says he agrees with most of the proposed taxi code changes. He already prohibits drivers from talking on the phone when passengers are in the car and thinks a city regulation will help enforce the longstanding rule.
"Drivers will now sit and talk to their wives, girlfriends and friends, make dates, do whatever they are doing on the phone and completely ignore the passenger and we're in the customer service industry," says Williams.
However, Williams and other owners and drivers are not too keen on another proposal the city is considering that would require drivers to accept credit cards. Most do now, but they don't have to.
Williams says the city should not be allowed to force private business to do business with credit card companies.
The committee tabled that proposal for now to do more research.
As for the other proposed changes - dress code, radio and cell phones - those will go to the full city council next week for a final vote.
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