EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

May 22, 2013

Cab ban dispute moves to federal court as city moves to toughen it

(Continued)

“Everything we’ve done is in accordance with the city attorney and with the council’s ordinance,” Conway told the councilors.

He said adding more medallions beyond 150 would burden the officer who administers the medallions and the 380 drivers with hack licenses.

A handful of Andover drivers attended the hearing, but none spoke.

Afterward, Johnny Difeo, one of the five Andover drivers who joined the suit along with company owner Ramon Tapia, said Lawrence police had his cab towed and gave him a $150 ticket on April 22 after he entered the city carrying a passenger he said he had picked up in Methuen.

He said he was stopped again yesterday when he was driving himself to a laundromat in a cab that was empty except for him.

“If somebody calls me to pick them up in Methuen, why can’t I pick them up?” Difeo asked.

The new law banning the out-of-town companies from working in Lawrence grew from protests by the seven taxi and livery companies that the city licenses. The company owners complained that the cost of doing business is greater for them, in part because the cost of insuring a vehicle in Lawrence is higher than in surrounding municipalities, and so they should be protected from out-of-town companies who can undercut their fares.

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