COLUMBIA — Downtown patrons waiting for rides home on weekend nights will be able to continue using the designated taxi stands, originally implemented as a pilot project in May.
The City Council voted Monday to keep the taxi stands in operation and included an amendment that changes the starting time for taxi stands and "no pick-up/drop-off" zones from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
There are currently five designated taxi stands and six “no pick-up/drop-off” zones downtown in operation until 2:30 a.m., Thursday through Sunday morning.
Jesse Hamilton, a Columbia resident, said he typically uses the taxi stands downtown at least once a week and likes the establishment of specific spots for taxis.
"As long as they have designated hours, so during the daytime if I can still park in these metered spots, I think that's great because there are enough spots around town where people coming downtown can park," Hamilton said.
Suggestions from the Downtown Community Improvement District included permanent signs to better indicate to people and motorists where the taxi stands and "no pick-up/drop-off" zones are located. The organization also suggested painting the taxi stand curbs with black and yellow checkers to serve as a visual indicator.
The "no pick-up/drop-off" zones are located on both sides of Broadway between Seventh and Short streets; on both sides of Cherry Street between Ninth and Tenth streets; on both sides of Hitt Street between Broadway and Cherry Street; on Ninth Street between Walnut Street and University Avenue; on Sixth Street between Broadway and Walnut Street; and on Tenth Street between Broadway and Locust Street.
Now, the taxi stands will be located on a portion of Broadway; on Cherry Street between Hitt and Tenth streets; on Locust Street between Ninth and Tenth streets; and on a portion of Ninth Street.
Kyle Robertson, who was waiting for a taxi Friday night, said it was difficult at times to find a taxi without specific locations.
"It's a good idea, because it's a designated spot instead of chasing people around," Robertson said.
The ordinance also allows buses, limousines and STRIPES vehicles to stop in the designated spots.