Dispute over $50K worth of tickets puts Dixie Cab in jeopardy

LAFAYETTE, La (KLFY) – A Lafayette cab company is in hot water after not paying thousands in traffic camera fines.

Dixie Cab could soon be shutdown after the owner was made aware of more than $50,000 in unpaid traffic camera fines, fines that the owner says are not exactly his responsibility.

“I don’t drive the cars, my drivers do, so I filled out the form and I sent it to them for them to contact the drivers who violated the law,” said Dixie Cab owner, Joe Yousef. “I knew that the fine had to be paid by the driver, not by me.”

Yousef says he was unaware of the outstanding charges his cab drivers owed until about two weeks ago when he received a letter.

“I can assume that the permit renewal process triggered the research that indicated the built-up fines,” said Carlee Alm-LaBar, Director of Planning, Zoning, & Development for Lafayette Consolidated Government.

Yousef says in the past he has picked up the slack for some of the fines.

“I settled some tickets with the company that collects the fees for a portion of the amount, for like 25% of it at one time,” said Yousef.

Yousef says he currently has a little over 50 drivers with 15 cabs running daily and says collecting the money from the drivers to satisy tickets is not always an easy task.

“I don’t have hold of their money,” said Yousef. “They are not on payroll they work off commission.”

“With vehicles for hire, they go through a permitting process and the policies and regulations indicate that they will follow the rules of Lafayette Consolidated Government including paying the fines,” said Alm-LaBar.

Alm-LaBar says just like any other business they’re just making sure they follow the law, but Yousef says he doesn’t think this is all about unpaid traffic camera fines.

“I really think it’s about Dixie Cab and someone doesn’t like me or doesn’t like Dixie Cab and just harrasing me,” said Yousef. “Safeflight and SafeSpeed is a private company. The city of Lafayette is not in business to collect private companies debts.”

Yousef has filed an appeal and is set to go before the Lafayette City-Parish Council for a hearing next Tuesday.

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