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Taxi drivers take scenic route around permits

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There’s a lengthy waiting list to become a taxi driver in the city of Wilmington. Rather than waiting in line, some cabbies are turning to other ways of registering within the city.

The city of Wilmington registers it’s taxis by assigning drivers what are called “W Numbers.”

Jimmy Allen owns and operates Allen’s Taxi company. He’s been waiting for a W Number for over a year.

The city issued permit that allows cab operators to pick up and drop off passengers within city limits, but without that number, taxi’s can only take on riders in New Hanover County, outside the city limits, and the airport.

Allen said some taxi companies are going about getting W Numbers the wrong way. “Basically it’s like black market. Smaller companies that aren’t doing the right thing, or can’t sustain business, are selling their W Numbers which is totally illegal but no one is responding to that.”

The city of Wilmington has a taxi inspector whose job is to keep track of what cars are registered within the city by pulling over taxis, and checking their W Numbers.

Those taxi’s serving New Hanover County don’t need to register with the county at all. They just need a car with insurance and a taxi sign.

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There’s a lengthy waiting list to become a taxi driver in the city of Wilmington. Rather than waiting in line, some cabbies are turning to other ways of registering within the city.

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