Andover Police Department Arrests Unlicensed Cab Driver After Phone Call from Public Safety

The Andover Police Department arrested one unlicensed cab driver and give a citation to another on campus last Monday, after Phillips Academy Public Safety (PAPS) alerted them of the cab drivers. Andover Police arrested the driver because he did not have proper license plates for a vehicle for hire, and because his company, Shawsheen Livery, had previously been warned and cited for driving students in unlicensed cars. The other driver, from J&J Shuttle Service, received a citation for the same violation. In Andover, unmarked vehicles for hire and limousines are required to display license plates that designate them as such. Andover Police Officer Charles Edgerly said, “The original reason we were investigating was that [PAPS Officer] Chris Cole called to report a livery vehicle dropping students off at George Washington Hall in a vehicle with passenger plates. This was an ongoing problem he and I have been working on since June.” Cole made the original call to report the J&J Shuttle Service vehicle. “We responded, and spoke with the operator of a Kia Minivan from J&J Shuttle Service. [While this happened], a Mercury Grand Marquis with passenger plates pulled in, dropping off students coming from Logan. The man operating it had been spoken to [on November 11], when we cited the company, Shawsheen Livery, and told the manager not to operate until she fixed the problems,” Cole continued. Edgerly said, “Officer Joseph Davies asked the [Shawsheen Livery car operator] if he knew that he was operating the vehicle illegally, to which [the operator] replied that he did. [The operator] was arrested for willfully violating town bylaws, specifically the vehicle for hire rules and regulations.” “I’ll take responsibility,” said the manager of Shawsheen Livery. “[The driver] was going on my word. It was just stupidity; it wasn’t a matter of trying to get around the rules. Now I know better.” “What did happen wasn’t an intentional thing,” she continued. “Now I’m fully insured and am re-registering [the business] in Haverhill.” The Andover Police had previously cited Shawsheen Livery for operating without the proper plates after a sting operation in conjunction with PAPS on November 11. Edgerly said “We set up a sting operation with Shawsheen Livery, where a person in civilian attire called from PA requesting a ride to Logan.” “The hardest part is catching them in the act. Public Safety calls us [when they see a violation]…but by the time we get to them it’s too late,” he continued. Maureen Nunez, Director of Risk Management, said, “The risks associated with unlicensed companies are that they have not passed the town’s license requirements, including safety checks and insurance requirements.” Tom Conlon, Manager of Public Safety, said, “We ask people to use viable companies, because our concern with students here is that if something did happen, they would have the means…to [get] compensation.” “It’s hard because there are so many different companies students use when they [return to campus],” Conlon continued. “We keep an eye out, and when we see a vehicle without proper identification we call the Andover Police.” Conlon said, “In the past, complaints have been filed about some companies.” According to Conlon, the complaints have included cab operators charging each passenger individually, allowing more passengers in the car than the legal limit, and instances of operators telling students they didn’t have enough change, forcing them to pay extra. “We worked with the Dean of Students Office and Risk Management to come up with a list,” said Conlon. Conlon said that there have not been any prior reports of problems with J&J Shuttle Service. “I feel bad because someone is trying to make a living, but if you want to make a living off of it, do it [lawfully]. If you need a license, go get one,” he said. Andover bylaws state that “All owners and drivers of public conveyances of all kinds that may be used for public hire or for carrying express and baggage within the limits of the town shall be licensed by the Selectmen, under such conditions as they may determine.” Shuttle companies must go through this licensing process for each vehicle in order to obtain the identification needed to operate as a vehicle for hire. Town insurance is higher for vehicles for hire and taxis than it is for passenger vehicles.