The City Council granted a taxi certificate last week after a Myrtle Beach cab owner who appealed the city’s taxicab hearing panel decision to deny the application.
Alqi Dhimo, owner of Atlantic Cab Taxi, said he applied through the city’s taxicab hearing panel to receive a second certificate – also referred to as a medallion – for his company. He said he currently operates one seven-seat van, which allows six passengers, and he believes there’s enough business to add a second van.
In order to have received panel approval, an applicant must “establish the permanence and necessity of his business,” said city attorney Tom Ellenburg during the March 12 appeal hearing.
“[An applicant] must prove to you buy a preponderance of evidence that a new certificate is necessary,” Ellenburg said.
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Dhimo told The Sun News he handles between 20 and 30 calls a day, with the numbers increasing during the season. He said he is the only driver for his company and was hoping that by adding a second van he’d be able to hire someone to help him.
“I can’t work 24 hours a day,” he said.
Some council members initially said that while they felt Dhimo proved his personal business was increasing, it didn’t speak to the city’s needs as a whole.
“I’ve gotten calls saying there are too many medallions on the road,” Councilman Michael Chestnut said at the appeal hearing.
There were 182 medallions in the city. The city last approved medallions in February 2011, issuing two certificates to two separate applicants, according to city spokesman Mark Kruea.
Councilman Mike Lowder said he was afraid that granting Dhimo a medallion would open the flood gates for more applicants. However, those wishing additional medallions only can apply for them in January of each year.
By the end of the hearing, Dhimo was able to convince the council there was a need for at least one more taxi on city streets.
“I don’t think it will be the end of the world if we add a medallion,” Councilwoman Susan Grissom Means said.