By CHRIS AGEE
Johnathon Hamm, owner of Mineral Wells' lone taxi company, requested last month that the Mineral Wells City Council repeal the flat-rate fare system adopted in 2008.
He prepared a proposed rate system in line with cab fares found in urban centers and council unanimously voted to approve the ordinance change.
Hamm explained the new rate schedule was needed to compensate for daytime clients who make several stops around town.
After a few minor adjustments, the final rate system approved by the council allowed for a $2.25 pickup fee for a first passenger and $2 for each additional passenger for all fares picked up within a 3-mile radius of the taxi office at 900 E. Hubbard.
Outside of the 3-mile radius, $1 will be added to the pickup fee for each mile or fraction thereof.
After pickup, riders will pay 20 cents per 1/9 mile and will be responsible to pay 50 cents per minute for wait time.
Additional changes to the ordinanc included allowing cabs be inspected every six months instead of every 30 days and the repeal of a requirement that an inspection tag designed by the city be placed on its license plate.
The requirement of taxi drivers to possess a state chauffeur's license was also repealed, since that is not a state requirement.
Council tables action on credit card fees
Finance Director John Moran presented council members with the case for adding a 4-percent surcharge to residents paying for city services with a credit card.
He explained the city incurs fees for each credit card transaction which the law allows to be passed on to the cardholder.
While a governing body can charge up to 5 percent, Moran said his recommendation would just provide reimbursement to the city for those added charges from the credit card companies.
Local resident Charles Thompson spoke in favor of Moran's proposal, though he said it should not take place immediately for those used to paying utility bills with credit cards. He suggested giving customers plenty of advance notice to allow them to make other payment arrangements, if necessary.