NAPLES — Taxi cabs will continue to roam the streets of downtown Naples.
Naples City Council on Monday said further regulating taxicabs within city limits was not a priority.
Some council members over the years have expressed concerns over the number of taxis in business districts — primarily Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South — and on city streets.
“Taxi cabs all the time kind of cruise the neighborhoods of the community,” said Councilwoman Dee Sulick, who in 2008 first voiced her concerns over the number of taxis in the city. “This isn’t New York City where people go out on the curb to hail a cab.”
Taxi cabs operating in the city of Naples currently are regulated by Collier County government. The county law gives county officials the right to license and regulate taxis, set maximum rates and impose penalties.
The city has some regulations in place when it comes to taxi cabs. City code doesn’t allow taxi cab parking in business districts except at designated taxi cab stands.
There are three taxi stands — designated parking spots at 12th Avenue South at Third Street South, one adjacent to the bandshell at Cambier Park, and one on Park Street — in downtown Naples.
But cruising up and down the street isn’t prohibited, and things like three-point turns are allowed unless they’re disrupting traffic or the local government has explicitly said it is illegal.
The majority of council members Monday said they agreed with Sulick that the number of taxi cabs on the street could be problematic, but few said they wanted to spend the time — and money — necessary to further regulate the business.
“I spent some time thinking about priorities on how I want to spend (council’s) time over the next few months and of all the things we have to deal with to make things better,” said Councilman Gary Price.
“Even though I might have concerns about the number of cabs, even with all of the things I want to work on, this isn’t something I want to work on. It’s just a matter of prioritizing.”
Not everyone agreed. Councilwoman Teresa Heitmann said the city should continue to look into possible changes.
“These streets are congested and when you have five cruising taxi cabs, it creates more of a delay,” she said. “We must do something before someone gets hurt.”
The city isn’t turning a blind eye to council members concerns, though.
City Council on Monday authorized Sulick to go before the county’s consumer advisory board — which hears complaints from consumers about public vehicle license permit and all public consumer issues — to discuss the concerns City Council has with taxi cabs.