CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - At 12:30 a.m. Friday, a taxi stand ordinance went into effect in the Market area of downtown Charleston.
From Friday to Sunday, all cabs in the Market area now have to line up at designated taxi stands to pick up passengers. That means tourists and bar-goers can no longer hail cabs from the street in the Market during the late-night hours of the weekend.
The ordinance is part of a one-year-pilot program approved by Charleston City Council.
Three taxi stands have already been set up at the North Market Street intersections of Meeting, Church and East Bay streets. Passengers now have to hitch a ride on a first come, first served basis at the taxi stands from Friday through Sunday starting at 12:30 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.
Sgt. Heath King of the City of Charleston Police Department says they will be strictly enforcing and regulating the new law. The goal of the system is to increase safety and organization for both passengers and cab drivers in the area.
King says the ordinance at this time is just for the busy Market area, but that if things go well, the City will likely consider expanding the law in the future to other popular late-night spots in town, such as the upper King Street district.
Officials say organized taxi stands will also help them identify illegal gypsy cabs and regulate legal cabs to make sure they are up to code and metered.