August 16, 2002
REQUIREMENTS FOR TAXI DRIVERS IN GEORGIA
By: James J. Fazzalaro, Principal Research Analyst
You asked that we verify whether there are new citizenship and residency requirements that are being applied to operators of taxicabs and other types of public passenger vehicles providing service to Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport and other commercial airports in Georgia. Specifically, you wanted to know if these drivers must (1) be U.S. citizens and (2) reside in Georgia for five years before they can qualify to drive these vehicles.
This does not appear to be the case. We contacted the Atlanta Police Department's Bureau of Taxicabs and Vehicles for Hire to inquire about requirements for these drivers. The bureau is responsible for certifying and regulating all such services in the greater Atlanta area, including those providing services to the airport. According to Joanne Smith, a supervisor in the bureau, there have been no changes to the requirements recently. Under Atlanta city ordinance § 162-77, to get a permit to operate any vehicle for hire, the applicant must:
1. Be at least age 18;
2. Have held a valid state driver's license for at least one year prior to application;
3. Be a U.S. citizen or an alien admitted for permanent residence or otherwise granted employment authorization by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service;
4. Be a Georgia resident for at least one year immediately preceding application;
5. Show proficiency with English sufficient to understand and interpret traffic signs, issue written receipts to passengers, and obey orders of police and others in lawful authority;
6. Successfully complete a driver training course for new applicants administered by a company and approved by the bureau;
7. Be fingerprinted by the Department of Police and supply the Bureau of Taxis and Vehicles for Hire with two current photographs meeting certain requirements;
8. Submit written statements from the holder of the certificate of public convenience and necessity and a company that he will be affiliated with once he receives a permit;
9. Not have been declared a habitual violator by the state Department of Public Safety or the bureau or have been convicted of, been on probation, parole, or served time for a period of five years prior to application for violating certain criminal laws of Georgia, any other state, or the United States; and
10. Not have been convicted of violating two or more sections of the Atlanta City Code or other ordinances governing the conduct of drivers of for-hire vehicles for a period of two years prior to application.
Smith stated that these have been the permit requirements for a number of years and no changes have been proposed to them. We also verified with the Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport's Ground Transportation Division that, although drivers providing ground transportation services to the airport must get special ground transportation service permits from the aviation general manager, no additional qualifications must be met beyond those imposed by the Bureau of Taxis and Vehicles for Hire. The Atlanta airport is operated by the City of Atlanta's Department of Aviation.