A Rhode Island official said there are unlicensed taxis picking up passengers in Newport, reports WRPI. The Target 12 team looked into the issue after two unlicensed cab drivers allegedly sexually assaulted women in Boston.
“It’s a very good likelihood that the drivers (of these vehicles) are not licensed and there’s been no vetting of his background as a driver or a criminal background check,” Terry Mercer, of the Public Utilities Commission’s Motor Carrier told the network.
He added the vehicles themselves have not been inspected and might not be commercially insured.
Mercer said to look for the taxi sign on the roof, posted rates on the rear fenders, rate meters and the driver’s license which should be visible.
“And I think it’s a good idea to avoid the smart phone apps,” Mercer told WPRI.
Mercer added some lawmakers would like to see a national criminal background check for taxi drivers. Currently, only a state-level check is required.
“If they just moved here, 12 months ago or 12 days ago, a criminal background could be non-existent in Rhode Island,” Mercer told WPRI. “But they could have a very serious criminal background from another state.”
Rhode Island's registered cab companies are listed on the P U C's website.