Tri-City Taxi cited for operating without licenses

The owner of Hoquiam’s Tri-City Taxi was cited Friday for operating the company without a taxi license or a city business license, and one of its drivers was arrested for operating a taxi without a current license, Hoquiam Police reported.

After receiving a citizen complaint that the company wasn’t properly licensed, an undercover Hoquiam detective called Tri-City Taxi for a ride Friday afternoon. After a 30-minute wait, the officer paid $10 for a ride from one motel to another across town. Officers then arrested the 51-year-old driver for operating the cab without a taxi license. The vehicle was impounded.

According to his daily fare sheet, the driver had been picking up patrons around Aberdeen and Hoquiam all day, although his taxi operator license had expired Dec. 31, 2012.

Hoquiam requires taxi service providers to hold a taxi license, which requires a safety inspection, insurance and a city business license. The city Finance Department confirmed the company had not renewed its licenses for 2013 and none of its drivers had applied for current licenses to drive the cabs.

“Citizens receiving taxi transport rely on these regulations to assure their safety and well-being while partaking in this service,” Police Chief Jeff Myers said in a press release.

The business’ 53-year-old owner was interviewed later Friday afternoon, and admitted he did not have a business license but thought his taxi license was valid. According to police, the man said he had not realized the licenses were expired due to simple oversight, although the company had been put on notice in December because it had failed to file proof of insurance or safety inspections for its vehicles. The notice informed the company its license would be revoked if it failed to comply, and it has apparently failed to comply with the 2012 requirement or apply for renewal in 2013.

The owner was cited for operating a taxi company without a license and conducting business without a city business license. Both men are scheduled to answer their charges in Hoquiam Municipal Court. Feb. 5.