- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—HAVERHILL — Senior citizens are complaining taxis aren’t allowed to wait for them outside certain businesses, such as supermarkets, forcing the elders to walk long distances before loading items into the cab.

So said City Councilor William Macek.

Because of complaints he has received from local senior citizens, Macek said he expects at Tuesday night’s council meeting to propose creating designated areas in the city where taxis can idle while awaiting passengers.

“Some seniors are saying that they’re being inconvenienced in some plazas because taxicabs cannot wait for them in the fire lanes,” Macek said. “Meanwhile, MVRTA buses can sit in the fire lanes.”

During the last census taken in 2010, residents over the age of 65 made up 12.2 percent of Haverhill’s 60, 879 people.

Macek said the council should ask Market Basket supermarkets — which has three stores in the city — and other businesses to set up designated spots near the store entrance where senior citizens can step into a waiting cab.

“To make it official, we should create locations or loading zones for cabs,” he said. “It’s hard for seniors to load groceries into a cab and to get in and out.”

While Macek said it’s probably illegal for a taxi to idle in a fire lane, he has seen other vehicles do it without police ordering the driver to move.

“You’d only need one or two spaces, not a big area like for a bus,” he said. “Maybe we could make it so that a car would need a driver in it while it waits.”

Council President John Michitson said Macek’s proposal sounds “reasonable … for our seniors.”

“The population of residents over 65 is high,” he said. “My guess is that this will impact seniors living in or near the downtown most, although I understand that the cabs do a lot of business in other neighborhoods, as well.”

Follow Peter Francis on Twitter @PeterMFrancis

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