Grand Rapids maps downtown taxi zones
Hailing a cab in downtown Grand Rapids just got easier.
The city of Grand Rapids Ground Transportation Steering Committee unveiled five taxi zones this morning designed to make it simple for downtown visitors and workers to grab a cab.
Taxi stands offering 24-hour service are now located in front of DeVos Place, at 303 Monroe Ave. NW, and near Founders Brewing Co., at 250 Grandville Ave. SW.
The three other zones, which will have service from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. daily, can be found at Rosa Parks Circle, at 146 Monroe Center St. NW, near JW Marriott, at 168 Campau Ave. NW, and in the Heartside neighborhood and Arena District, at 50 Weston St. SW.
The new taxi zones are a result of recommendations made by the Ground Transportation Steering Committee, which was asked by the Grand Rapids City Commission last fall to research transportation issues and provide recommendations.
The committee addressed matters impacting the safety, availability, affordability and the regulatory aspect of ground transportation for visitors and local residents.
The study resulted in several recommendations, which focused on the deregulation of various sections of the city’s taxicab ordinance.
Representatives from Experience Grand Rapids, Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. and the city of Grand Rapids Parking Services, Traffic Safety, Executive and Clerk's offices served as members of the steering committee.
“We wanted to create an environment that could improve competitiveness,” said Darlene O’Neal, Grand Rapids city clerk. “We also wanted to encourage taxicab companies and drivers to continue delivering quality customer service.”
Licensed transportation services in Grand Rapids participated in the formulation of the taxi zones.
Karen Huyser, president of Calder City Taxicab, said taxi zones will help people in need of transportation and those providing taxicab service, “making it more convenient for both.”
“People can walk up to the cab for service without calling for a cab to get a ride,” Huyser said.
She said the five taxi stands are all in areas with a high demand for transportation.
“We hope this is only the first step by the city of Grand Rapids to promote the licensed taxicab and taxicab driver as being an important part of the ground transportation network in Grand Rapids,” Huyser said.
Taxicab services have been requesting changes to city regulations since Uber, the ride-booking mobile app, rolled out in Grand Rapids two years ago.
The companies said because of city regulations, taxicab companies couldn’t compete with the service and were seeing their ridership decrease, as well as the number of taxicab drivers on the road.
It was reported previously by the City Clerk’s Office that after Uber came to Grand Rapids, taxi drivers with active licenses decreased by 22 percent.
Taxicab companies hope the new taxi zones will help them grow and expand in the city.