Myrtle Beach buckling down on rides for hire

Limo owners, shuttle operators, and the 182 cab drivers in the area are closely watching a proposed law Myrtle Beach city council is considering.

"It basically states that when a taxicab is called by a citizen or a tourist within out city a taxicab must show up a limousine can not act in/operate such as like a taxicab," David Clever, a patrolman with the regulatory unit of Myrtle Beach police said.

The revision to the city's current law prohibits limos from stopping to calls on demand, cruising, or participating in taxi lines or stands anywhere in the city.

It also says calls can not be dispatched or responded to in a limousine.

The issue began a few months back, Clever said, a complaint was brought before the city council.

"That possibly limousine type vehicles were operating like taxi cabs," he said.

"I was going down Ocean Boulevard and I had a LS (limo service) from another company was in front of me. Two people raise their hand, now that should have been mine," says independent taxicab driver Vernon Lawrence.

Clever explains part of the issue is the different requirements and regulations to become a limo service business, or taxicab business.

"If you wanted to open your own limo service, you have to go through the Office of Regulatory staff first for the state of South Carolina. Get your authority to allow to pick up passengers for hire within the state, then you'd have to solicit the city of myrtle beach to actually work within the city limits, obtain a business license from the business license division. also you'd pay the applicable fees and have a sticker applied to that vehicle and then go through and obtain a chauffeurs permit (for) each driver, and obtain a manifest." Clever said.

Cab drivers also have to go through the state, but their process within the city is more in depth than the limos, Clever says.

"Now if you are a taxi you have to go through the application process, which is a 500 dollar fee. Also you have to have yearly regulations as far as inspection on renewal fees, and other applicable fees derived from that," he added.

The city council will take up the issue at an October 23rd meeting.