Miami-Dade County’s outdated taxicab industry took a big step forward on January 29 when the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners approved the new Ambassador Cabs Program, which will raise service standards for all taxicabs that serve customers at Miami International Airport and PortMiami. Created by County ordinance sponsored by County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, the new program requires taxicabs at both travel hubs to be outfitted with updated technology, while participating drivers must adhere to stringent customer service standards.
“The Ambassador Cabs Program is a common-sense reform that will vastly improve the overall customer experience for our residents and visitors, and I’m grateful to the Board of County Commissioners for supporting it,” said Miami- Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, who proposed and championed the comprehensive reforms along with Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. González. “A huge portion of our local economy depends on the activity at MIA and PortMiami, so it’s important that we deliver the best to our customers at those two critical transportation centers.”
In order to take part in the Ambassador Cabs Program, taxicabs must be equipped with credit card machines, a GPS-based dispatch system, SunPass transponders, and a digital security camera system, among other improvements. Ambassador Cabs may not be more than six years old, and alternative fuel vehicles will be given priority access to customers at MIA and PortMiami. Additionally, participating drivers are required to adhere to a standard dress code, must open doors for passengers, load passenger luggage, and may not refuse customers who elect to pay by credit card. Program participants have 6 months to incorporate SunPass devices into their vehicles, 12 months to incorporate credit card machines, and 24 months to incorporate the GPS-based dispatch system and digital security camera.
“This is a long-overdue leap into the 21st Century for our local taxicab industry, and it’s a big win for the millions of visitors who spend time and money in our community each year, as well as for the many residents who regularly travel through our global gateway,” said Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. González. “Taxicabs provide a critical first impression, and if we want to be considered a world-class community, we need to offer world-class customer service all the way from touchdown to takeoff.”