City to look at taxi regulations

Matt Algarin

It’s not often you hear citizens asking government to create new regulations, but that’s exactly what Stanislav Nikolov did during the Aug. 25 Destin City Council meeting.

“What we suggest, is basically for the city to have requirements,” Nikolov, who works for OK Taxi, said of the current taxi business in Destin.

Currently the city of Destin has no regulations as it relates to the taxi business, outside of requiring operators to have a business license.

Nikolov told city leaders that instituting regulations would help with safety, as during the spring break and summer seasons there are only about “30 licensed and insured” drivers in the city.

One of the suggestions he made would address the age of vehicles on the roadways. As a safety precaution, he recommended that all taxis in the city be no less than 10 years old, and that they carry insurance of no less than $500,000.

He even told city leaders that they could make a profit off of the licensing process, charging fees for the permitting.

As a former taxi driver, Capt. George Eller said Nikolov is “on the right track” with his suggestion. Eller said when he sold his taxi company in the ‘80s, there were 26 different cars in operation.

“I’m well versed in the taxi cab industry,” he said, adding that he had written an entire ordinance that was presented to county commissioners but never adopted.

“The taxi cab is the first and last impression they have,” Eller said of Destin’s visitors. “That impression needs to be good.”

Eller offered to share his ordinance with the city as they plan to look further into the issue and look at a variety of ways regulations could be used in the city.

“It’s all about safety,” Nikolov told the council. “We just want to make sure that everyone’s doing what is best.”