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Jun 7, 2016 4:14 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Hampton Town Police Set Sights On Taxi Violations

Taxis have become a pressing issue in Montauk. KYRIL BROMLEY
Jun 7, 2016 4:14 PM

The din of Montauk’s nightlife has perhaps been contained somewhat by the closed doors of bars and clubs looking to avoid noise citations, but the frenetic swirl of taxicabs through the hamlet has now emerged as the problem du jour for Summer 2016.

After Memorial Day weekend Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo said that corralling taxis and reining in their skirting of traffic safety laws in the fervor to track down fares would be on the front burner for officers in the coming weeks.

On Monday night, residents of Montauk sounded off in a chorus about the mayhem the army of taxis still unleash on the hamlet, and asked the town to push for, or even fund, some form of bus service for the hamlet’s visitors, workers and residents.

Residents proposed encouraging the Hampton Hopper, a private one-bus operation that has said it is considering expanding to Montauk, or appealing—demanding really—that Suffolk County increase bus service in the hamlet.

“As a town we should be saying to Suffolk County ‘We need buses,’” said Kathy Weiss, a hotel manager. “We should be supporting a bus that runs all day and all night long. My employees need transportation to go into town and a cab wants $40 to take them downtown.”

A taxi driver at the meeting said later no cabs should be charging more than $12 for a ride downtown, and sometimes only $3 or $4 per person.

Broadening the now nearly non-existent public transit system run by Suffolk County could cut off some of the revenue stream that draws hundreds of cabs to Montauk’s streets on weekend evenings and leads to the wild pricing schemes.

The town currently licenses only taxi companies and the cars they own, not drivers, and some residents said that companies that own dozens of cars lease them out to out-of-town drivers for a week or a weekend, who then do not follow rules of conduct and fees accepted by locally based taxi drivers, residents said.

The town has issued 33 taxi licenses for 2016, with 281 cars registered to them in total.

The town has adopted, but not yet implemented, a law requiring that drivers register with the town and submit fingerprints.

Chief Sarlo said that officers have stopped many taxis for reckless driving and issued 15 summonses to taxi drivers in the first two weekends of the summer and will be pressing for tighter enforcement of traffic laws on Montauk’s streets as the summer wears on.

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By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Jun 7, 16 5:01 PM
"...a law requiring that drivers register with the town and submit fingerprints."
how about putting up a checkpoint where cyril's used to be and checking everyone's fingerprints.

code enforcement could close off the road there with a barricade and check allen der volks for der papers.

ja wohl, montauk! montauk uber alles!
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Jun 8, 16 5:55 AM
There should be a town-owned or town-subsidized summer shuttle service in Montauk.. a couple buses making a loop from downtown to popular destinations.
Also, don't understand why town doesn't impose zone pricing to eliminate gouging.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Jun 8, 16 8:55 AM
2 members liked this comment
Agree that zone pricing is needed and the Town should set those rates. The GOUGING that is taking place right now is so unethical, especially at night. I had a driver from "Hometown Taxi" (they aren't even based in Montauk!) Who tried to charge me $125 just to get back to East Hampton last weekend! Then he started a fight when I said there was no way I was paying that. This situation needs to be brought under control, it's embarrassing the local restaurants, bars and hotels who operate in Montauk ...more
By SisBoomBonacker (106), Hamptons on Jun 8, 16 3:35 PM
Just curious.. how much would you pay one-way for a van shuttle service from Montauk to East Hampton with a stop in Amagansett?
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Jun 9, 16 9:29 AM
Free markets anyone?

Don't forget to fingerprint the cooks, dishwashers and busboys as well -- they handle food, so just as dangerous as taxis -- perhaps IDs for all the "help"
Like in Palm Beach, which Montauk was modeled after. And don't forget to roam the train to make sure everyone has their papers in order.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Jun 8, 16 5:58 PM
There is no free market. Taxis collude to keep prices high.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Jun 9, 16 9:25 AM
UBER! Free Market competition will lead to lower fares and less DWI's. The lack of affordable transportation is what hurts Long Island in general!
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Jun 8, 16 9:50 PM