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Charlotte Area

Democratic Convention Motivates Cab Changes

The Charlotte City Council has talked about revising the city's taxi ordinance for years, but they're now motivated to speed things up: the specter of thousands of political movers and media coming to Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention next fall. At a Community Safety Committee meeting Tuesday, Councilwoman Patsy Kinsey insisted the city's cabs must all have state-of-the-art credit card machines in the backseat for the DNC. "We would be terribly embarrassed with all of these people coming here from larger cities that have that amenity and we don't have it," said Kinsey. "That's gonna look horrible." "It'll look 'country,'" agreed Councilman Michael Barnes. "Beverly Hillbillies" country?" quipped Councilman Patrick Cannon. Council members also discussed the need for newer, better maintained cabs and more professional dispatch service. Many of the proposed changes are troubling to cab companies and their drivers, and were under discussion long before Charlotte won its bid to host the Democratic National Convention. However, the convention has become a convenient - and off-cited - reason for city officials to overhaul the ordinance and limit the number of cab companies with exclusive airport contracts. A vote on those contracts is slated for June 13.