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Council to hail taxi controversy again

Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to again address a proposal to restrict the operation of taxicabs from neighboring communities in Evanston.

Cabbies licensed in Evanston have objected to the competition from out-of-town cabs, but representatives of the outside companies say Evanston residents should be free to call any company they want to arrange a ride by phone.

The debate became confused at a council meeting two weeks ago when the draft of the ordinance in the council packet reflected compromise language that had been developed in discussions with industry representatives that hadn’t been part of the version of the ordinance previously approved by a council committee.

For tonight, the version up for debate has reverted to the committee-approved language — which would bar out-of-town cabs from accepting any passenger in Evanston — regardless of whether it was from a pre-arranged call or by picking the passenger up at a cab stand.

Discussion at the council session two weeks ago suggested that language may not have sufficient support to win approval — and that a compromise that would allow pre-arranged pickups by out-of-town cabs may be more likely to win approval.

Both versions of the ordinance would increase the fine for drivers caught violating the city ordinance from the current range of $25 to $500 to a minimum fine of $750.

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