LUTHERSBURG, Pa. (AP) The state Public Utility Commission is cracking down on operators of "Amish taxis" who regularly serve as drivers for members of the religious group but are not certified to carry passengers.
The PUC this fall began targeting the unlicensed "English" or non-Amish taxis serving more than 350 Amish families in Clearfield, Indiana and Jefferson counties. Amish religious beliefs bar owning or operating motor vehicles, so they rely on outsiders to drive them long distances or along roads that are too dangerous for horse-drawn buggies.
The commission is responding to complaints, including some from drivers who paid to become state-certified to carry passengers, PUC spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher said.
"It's different than something occasional, like taking a neighbor to a grocery store," Kocher said. "We're targeting routine trips where people who are (certified) and are following the rules are saying, 'Wait a minute here."'
Drivers must pay a one-time fee of $350 to be state-certified to carry passengers and submit proof of insurance annually after that. Vehicles must also be certified, either as metered taxis or as paratransit vehicles. Commercial insurance fees vary for paratransit vehicles but can cost up to $6,000 annually, Kocher said.