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Rule change could endanger some Sioux Falls taxis

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — The Sioux Falls City Council is considering requiring taxi cab companies to provide service around the clock, a requirement some companies say could put them out of business.

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The City Council is considering the change as it updates the ordinance regulating taxi companies. The requirement is common among other cities in the region, according to the Argus Leader newspaper.

Cab companies shouldn't work only peak hours and leave people without service when they want it, Councilman Dean Karsky said. He suggested smaller cab companies share shifts to provide 24-hour service.

First American Cab Co. owner Todd Ellingson said the requirement would endanger his business, along with all cab companies that operate with a single car and driver. Of the 22 cab companies in Sioux Falls, 15 have only a single car.

Yellow Cab is the largest in town, with 24 cars and 38 drivers. Co-owner Tallie Kinsley said there are too many cab companies in Sioux Falls and that the rules are too loose. She would like to see the city set a minimum number of vehicles and employees for cab companies, to put all companies on a level playing field.

"It's not that they're taking that many drivers away from us," she said of the smaller companies. "It's that they're operating so much cheaper than they should be."

The City Council's Public Services Committee will discuss the ordinance again in November. If the committee approves the change it will go to the full council for consideration.