State and local laws regulate cabs and cab drivers in North Carolina. Drivers must get a permit to operate a taxi in their municipality or county; the fees and rules for getting a permit vary from place to place. Drivers typically have to be over 18 years old with a current, valid North Carolina license and have the right to work in the U.S.
Under state law, taxi drivers cannot have felony convictions, substance abuse issues or multiple moving violations. They must display their permit in the cab where a passenger can see it.
How Taxis Are Regulated in the State of North Carolina
Taxicab drivers and companies in North Carolina must comply with the state's regulations and standards that are designed to improve the comfort and safety of passengers, according to state Statute 160A-304. Through this legislation, the state places strict controls on how taxi companies can operate and set the process for permitting their drivers.
North Carolina can deny a taxicab license to certain individuals who:
- Have a felony conviction in North Carolina or elsewhere.
- Are known to suffer from substance abuse, alcohol abuse, or a combination of issues related to addiction.
- Have been arrested for drug and/or alcohol offenses.
- Have been arrested under the state’s anti-prostitution laws.
- Are not legal citizens of the United States.
- Have multiple moving violations on their record.
Obtaining a Permit to Drive a Taxi
All cabs operating in North Carolina need a permit, which must be displayed for passengers to see. Taxi permits are valid for one year from the date they are issued and can be renewed annually. A city can license and regulate vehicles for hire within its jurisdiction.
Taxi Permits in Greenville
In Greenville, or within five miles of its corporate limits, drivers must have a taxi driver's permit, even if they are only part-time or occasional drivers – the only exemptions are for local government drivers. To get a taxi permit in Greenville, a driver must:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Hold a valid, current North Carolina motor vehicle driver’s license.
- Have the right to live and work in the United States.
The Greenville Chief of Police will approve a permit application if they believe the applicant is of “good character,” which is proved by showing evidence of their driving history, declaring any orders of mental health or sexual offenses, and requesting the disclosure of federal or state arrests or convictions through an enhanced criminal records check before applying.
After an individual applies, pays for their background check, and submits their drug test results, both their test results and fingerprint cards are sent to Greenville’s Code Enforcement Division for processing.
Licensing Fees in North Carolina
The application fees for taxicab permits in North Carolina vary from place to place. For example, in Raleigh, the initial fee is $50, with a $50 renewal. In Greenville, it is $30 for the initial fee and $19 to renew. Applicants make their payments to the Greenville Police Department Records Division.
If the department declines the application or the applicant withdraws it, the department will not refund the processing fee for the application. This payment does not include the drug test fee. Test results must accompany a waiver that releases the applicant's medical documents.
Greenville’s Code Enforcement Division issues to successful applicants a paper permit that identifies them as the permit holder. The permit states certain information:
- Cab driver’s name and address that is on file with the police department.
- Age, sex and race.
- Name of the taxicab company the cab operates under.
- Taxi permit number.
- Issuance and expiration dates of the permit.
Taxi Franchise Operations in North Carolina
For a taxi franchise to operate a specific number of taxis within a city, the franchise holder must report the average number of taxis actually in operation every quarter to the city council. The city council may amend that number by reducing the amount of authorized vehicles by the average number not operating during the quarter before. It may then transfer the unused allotment to another operator.
Taxi allotments among operators can be transferred only by a city council. It is otherwise unlawful for a franchise operator to assign, sell or otherwise transfer allotments themselves.
Proving Financial Responsibility in North Carolina
Any party operating a taxi cab business within a municipality or county must provide proof of financial responsibility to the city’s governing board or a board of county commissioners, which will not issue any certificate, franchise, license, permit or other privilege without it.
Proof of financial responsibility must be a certificate from an insurance carrier authorized to do business in North Carolina. It states that there is a liability insurance policy insuring the taxi business, its agents and employees while performing their duties against loss from liabilities imposed by law, including damages for care and loss of services due to the injury or fatality of any individual and injury to or destruction of property as the result of an accident.
The insurance policy must cover – exclusive of interests and costs – $100,000 due to bodily injury or death of one individual in an accident; $300,000 due to the bodily injury or deaths of two or more people in an accident; and $50,000 due to injury to, or property destruction of, others in an accident.
Michelle Nati is an associate editor and writer who has reported on legal, criminal and government news for PasadenaNow.com and Complex Media. She holds a B.A. in Communications and English from Niagara University.