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Oswego aims to ban sex offenders and felons from driving taxi cabs

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Oswego aims to ban sex offenders and felons from driving taxi cabs
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Have you ever wondered who your driver is when getting into a taxi? City officials in Oswego want to clear up those questions by making it illegal for anyone convicted of a sex offense or a felony in the past decade to obtain a cab driver's license. As our Candace Hopkins reports, under those restrictions, a lot of drivers could soon be searching for new jobs.

OSWEGO, N.Y. -- Some estimates show at least 19 of the approximately 30 cab drivers in Oswego have felony convictions and at least two of those men and women have served time for violent sex offenses. That's why lawmakers are considering new legislation that would ban sex offenders, or anyone convicted of a felony within the past ten years, from driving a cab.

"I would not feel comfortable having my wife or my daughters get into a cab from someone who has a previous history of that sort of thing. Now I believe in redemption, I believe people can change and that's why we put a ten year limit on felony charges, with the exception of sexual abuse cases," said Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen.

While there haven't been any reported cases of problems with cab drivers, Mayor Gillen believes it is the city's responsibility to provide safe transportation options for residents and visitors.

"It's reflective of our city. They represent our city,” Gillen said. “People come here and they get into a taxi cab, I want them to have a professional service and I want them to have a good experience."

But Common Councilor Eric Van Buren says some companies are failing to uphold those standards, which is why he is also pushing for increased physical requirements for the cars.

"A few of the cabs are in rough shape, to put it mildly. They're going to have to invest a little more in the vehicles, so that they will put a better car on the road," said Van Buren.

The Common Council is expected to pass the new law Monday night and once that happens, the new regulations will go into effect immediately.

If the law passes, all of Oswego's cab drivers will be required to re-apply for their licenses and the fee to obtain one will increase from $10 to $100.

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