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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 14-2183




[ 52 PA. CODE CHS. 1017 AND 1019 ]

Taxicab Safety Cameras

[44 Pa.B. 6769]
[Saturday, October 25, 2014]

 The Philadelphia Parking Authority (Authority), on June 12, 2014, adopted the final-form rulemaking order to provide for the use of safety cameras in Philadelphia taxicabs.

Philadelphia Taxicab and Limousine Regulations;
Safety Cameras; Doc. No. 126-8

Final Rulemaking Order

By the Authority:

 The Authority is the sole regulator of all taxicab and limousine service in Philadelphia.1 In furtherance of those regulatory functions, the Authority issued a proposed regulation at this docket number on November 25, 2013. The initial public comment period for this rulemaking proceeding concluded on April 7, 2014, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (''IRRC'') submitted its comments on May 7, 2014. The Authority has completed its review of the comments and now issues the final-form regulation.

Purpose of the Final-Form Regulation

 It has been widely recommended to the Authority on several occasions, including public comment hearings related to driver safety issues, that safety cameras be placed in all taxicabs in Philadelphia. The cameras will deter crimes and other bad acts in taxicabs by increasing the likelihood that perpetrators will be apprehended with the assistance of the photographic evidence produced by the cameras.


 The Authority has reviewed all of the comments filed under this docket and responds as set forth below.

§ 1017.5. Basic vehicle standards.

 This section is amended to remove reference to section 5714(b) of the act from paragraph (12). Act 119 removed specific reference to a shield from that section of the act, but granted the Authority the power to select safety devices, this change will make the regulation consistent. Paragraph (26) is added to require safety cameras among the other basic vehicle standards.

Subchapter G. Safety Cameras

§ 1017.71. Taxicab safety cameras.

 This section will provide owners with 120 days from the effective date of the regulation to present their taxicabs to the Authority for inspection with an approved and installed safety camera system. The regulation provides guidelines related to the initial inspection, sealing and posting of notices necessary to place the camera systems in operation.

 Subsection (b)(3)(iii) has been amended to clarify that the Enforcement Department will post notice of the presence of the safety cameras on the interior and exterior of the vehicle. Section 1017.77(b) has also been amended to clarify that these notices must be affixed to both the exterior and interior of the taxicab.

§ 1017.72. Safety camera system testing.

 This section provides that camera systems inspections may conducted by scheduling or in the field and may include the operation of the taxicab with an inspector present.

§ 1017.73. Approved safety camera system.

 This section provides that the Authority will maintain a list of already approved safety camera systems on its website, as with meter systems in § 1017.23 (relating to approved meters).

§ 1017.74. Safety camera requirements.

 This section will provide minimum components of what a safety camera system must include. Commentator Black Point Taxi, LLC, et al. (''BPT'') questioned the constitutionality of using safety cameras in taxicabs. IRRC asked that the Authority address this issue. BPT cites several cases related to unreasonable search and seizure, some including taxicabs.

 We agree that the Fourth Amendment does not stop at a taxicab's back door. However, the open and obvious photographing of a passenger in a government licensed taxicab that is open to public use on a public roadway is simply not an ''unreasonable'' search. Indeed, the first case cited by BPT, Katz v. U.S., actually supports this position when it provides: ''What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection.''2 The United States Supreme Court has specifically found that a person does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy from aerial surveillance even within his fenced-in backyard, because the yard can be seen from the air.3

 BPT cites a series of inapplicable criminal cases. Each of those cases involved the surreptitious surveillance of individuals by law enforcement or trespass upon private property by law enforcement engaged in the inspection of individuals' bags or other possessions. A search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution ''occurs when an expectation of privacy that society is prepared to consider reasonable is infringed.''4 In Hassan the court determined that private financial data collected through the mandated New York City taxicab meter system did not constitute an unreasonable search. Similarly, the Courts in Pennsylvania have found as follows:

''[a] person has a constitutionally-protected expectation of privacy in cases where: (1) the person has exhibited an actual (subjective) expectation of privacy; and (2) society is prepared to recognize the expectation of privacy as reasonable.''5

 The taxicab passenger cannot demand that the driver not listen to the passenger's conversation. A taxicab passenger cannot demand that a driver not look at the passenger. The taxicab passenger cannot demand that the world, including the government, avert its gaze while the person hails or enters a taxicab on a public street, while riding in the taxicab on a public roadway or upon exiting the taxicab. The taxicab passenger does not own the vehicle and cannot demand to be left alone in the vehicle. A taxicab passenger simply has no reasonable expectation of privacy as to his or her mere presence in a taxicab.

 The final-form regulation requires notice of the presence of the safety cameras on both the exterior and interior of the taxicab. The regulation prohibits audio recordings. The images recorded will not penetrate bags or physically impact passengers at all. A potential taxicab passenger who declines taxicab service to avoid taxicab safety cameras will walk down a city street lined with public and private surveillance cameras and may board a SEPTA bus or train that likely employs these safety cameras as well. Cameras of this nature are now ubiquitous in society. Despite the presence of these safety cameras in taxicabs throughout the United States over the last 10 years, BPT is unable to identify a single case finding safety cameras to represent a violation of anyone's expectation of privacy or the Fourth Amendment.6

 The final-form regulation merely provides for the recording of images in the public domain and does not violate any constitutional protections.

(b). This subsection requires the safety cameras to operate through the taxicab's meter system. Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania (''TWA'') commented that this requirement would create some special privilege among medallion owners. IRRC asked that the Authority respond to this point.

 We disagree with TWA on this issue. The meter system providers will be obligated through the Authority's system requirements to accept any conforming safety camera system. Also, neither this final-form regulation nor the existing regulations mandate the use of a particular meter system or camera system. While different medallion owners may prefer different meter systems, we do not see how this regulation has any connection to that issue.

 The meter systems are a means through which the camera's imagines can be transmitted, time stamped, and juxtaposed with payment and GPS related information. The interaction between the cameras system and the existing communication and identification components of the meter system act as force multipliers in terms of enhanced safety for taxicab drivers and the public and reduces operational costs that may be generated from the duplication of functions.

 IRRC requested additional information about the distress button presently used in taxicab meter systems. IRRC also noted the comments of TWA expressing a preference for communications emanating from the distress button to be directed to the Philadelphia Police Department. The Authority cannot require the Police Department to accept these communications. The City's standard 911 dispatch procedures mandate the use of an intermediary when communicating an emergency alarm to a ''911'' operator. This applies to home alarms, bank alarms, etc. That is why the taxicab distress signal goes to the dispatcher. The dispatcher has immediate access to the GPS location of the taxicab at the time the distress button is activated and will often have contemporaneous trip information.

 IRRC requested information regarding the manner in which dispatchers communicate information related to a taxicab distress signal to 911. The regulations require each dispatcher to ''receive and respond to emergency or distress alerts received from taxicab drivers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.'' § 1019.8 (13). Dispatchers can see the GPS location of the taxicab and will have the most recent dispatch information related to each taxicab. The Authority's dispatcher protocols require all dispatchers to immediately communicate the occurrence of a distress button activation to the Philadelphia Police Department. On at least at bi-annual basis the Authority audits each dispatcher's adherence to this requirement.

 IRRC asked how the regulation sufficiently protects the driver in distress. The cameras will forward real time photographs from the taxicab at the time the distress button is pushed, which will help the dispatcher assess the emergency. But the value of this regulation is in the investigatory information it will provide to law enforcement officials. This is similar to cameras used in banks or on busses. We believe the increased likelihood of capture will dissuade bad behavior, including crimes.

(c). Subsection (c) requires the camera system to be in operation while the vehicle's engine is turned on and has been amended to also require that the camera system remain active for a minimum of 1 hour after the engine is turned off. Otherwise, the purpose of the cameras could be evaded during the driver's breaks or whenever the vehicle's engine is turned off. The camera system will simply make recordings at slower intervals when the engine is disengaged, unless one of the triggering events to accelerate the rate of interval recordings occurs.

(e). This subsection has been amended to clarify that streaming video recording is not required. Instead, sequenced or timed recordings will be employed. The camera systems will be in operation as required in subsection (d), but will not record images accept at designated intervals and upon the occurrence of triggering events such as those identified in this subsection.

(f). This subsection identifies functional requirements of the safety camera system. IRRC noted the comment of BPT regarding the proposed requirement to record the entire interior of the taxicab, particularly in conjunction with the existing safety shields. The safety shields are clear and will not pose a problem in terms of recording images of the faces of people in the passenger compartment of a taxicab, particularly if positioned properly. Safety cameras systems also include the option to have a camera imbedded directly in the safety shield.

 We understand the commentator's concern about the clarity of the proposed regulation in terms of the field of vision to be captured by the cameras. We have amended the regulation to specifically require that the images capture the faces of the driver and all passengers, which is a much more specific requirement that language originally proposed. Also, the obligation to record the exterior of the taxicab has been removed in order to address this issue. The images captured will include information such as the date and time of the recording, the taxicab number and the camera system's unique serial number for recall and authentication purposes.

(g). This subsection has been amended to eliminate the requirement that the camera system transmit recorded data to the Authority and parties designated by the Authority. The regulation is not intended to provide constant real-time monitoring of all taxicabs. Therefore, the regulation has been amended to require the use of a data storage unit in each taxicab system. The data storage unit must be securely fastened to the vehicle in a place that is out of sight of passengers. This data storage unit is a standard component of every taxicab safety camera systems reviewed by the Authority and those currently in place in other cities in the United States. Upon the triggering of the distress button, the images will be transmitted immediately and wirelessly to the Authority's Taxicab and Limousine Division and the taxicab's dispatcher, as provided in subsection (h).

§ 1017.75. One safety camera system.

 Section 1017.75 limits each taxicab to only one safety camera system for ease of monitoring and general simplicity purposes. While an owner can switch between approved systems at their own discretion, they may only use one approved system at a time that is inspected by the Authority prior to operation.

§ 1017.76. Certificate holder responsible.

 Section 1017.16 requires the taxicab's owner to make certain that the safety camera system works each day. This standard already applies to each taxicab's overall functionality. The owner may assign a representative to confirm that the safety camera system is functioning, which is important because some certificate holders do not reside in the Philadelphia area and use business managers to supervise certain aspects of taxicab operations.

§ 1017.77. Public notice.

 Each taxicab must display a notice of the presence of the system on the exterior and interior of the taxicab. Subsection (b) has been amended as identified above in Section 1017.71.

§ 1019.8. Dispatcher requirements.

 Paragraph (17) provides that dispatchers must be equipped with the necessary equipment to support the safety camera system.

Affected Parties

 The regulation will affect all taxicab owners by requiring the installation and operation of a safety camera system and all dispatchers by requiring the maintenance of equipment capable of interfacing with the cameras systems.

Fiscal Impact

 The primary fiscal impact of the regulation will be made upon taxicab owners. However, when the cost of the safety camera equipment is extrapolated over the life span of the equipment the costs in comparison to the value of the taxicab operation and the safety of the driver and the public is small. Dispatchers will also be impacted fiscally to the extent that any modifications to existing communication devices may be necessary to support compatibility between the dispatcher system and the safety cameras system. However, we anticipate that the ability of the existing meters systems to communicate with the safety camera systems will eliminate costs increases. Also, dispatchers often mandate the use of certain equipment as a requirement of joining the dispatch association. The Authority anticipates that dispatchers will opt for one approved camera system, mandate compliance by associated taxicab owners and experience a savings through the economy of scale.


 The Authority does not anticipate any increase in regulatory demands associated with this regulation. The inspection of the safety camera systems will be absorbed into the standard bi-annual inspection process.

Political subdivisions, private sector, general public

 This final-form rulemaking will not have a direct fiscal impact on political subdivisions, the private sector or the general public except as previously provided.

Paperwork Requirements

 This final-form rulemaking will not affect the paperwork generated by the Authority or the regulated communities.

Effective Date and Conclusion

 The final-form rulemaking will become effective upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Accordingly, under sections 13 and 17 of the Act (53 Pa.C.S. §§ 5722 and 5742); section 5505(d)(17), (23) and (24) of the Parking Authorities Act, act of June 19, 2001, (P. L. 287, No. 22) (53 Pa.C.S. § 5505(d)(17), (23) and (24)); sections 201 and 202 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P. L. 769, No. 240) (45 P. S. §§ 1201 and 1202) and the regulations promulgated thereunder at 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1, 7.2 and 7.5; section 204(b) of the Commonwealth Attorneys Act (71 P. S. § 732.204(b)); section 745.5 of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5); and section 612 of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P. S. § 232) and the regulations promulgated at 4 Pa. Code §§ 7.231—7.234, the Authority proposes adoption of the final regulations set forth in Annex A; Therefore,

It Is Ordered That:

 1. The regulations of the Authority, 52 Pa. Code Chapters 1017 and 1019, are amended by adding §§ 1017.71—1017.77 and amending §§ 1017.5 and 1019.8 to read as set forth in Annex A, with ellipses referring to the existing text of the regulations.

 2. The Executive Director shall cause this order and Annex A to be submitted to the Office of Attorney General for approval as to legality.

 3. The Executive Director shall cause this order and Annex A to be submitted for review by the designated standing committees of both Houses of the General Assembly, and for formal review by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission.

 4. The Executive Director shall cause this order and Annex A to be submitted for review by the Governor's Budget Office for review of fiscal impact.

 5. The Executive Director shall cause this order and Annex A to be deposited with the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

 6. The Executive Director shall serve copies of this order and Annex A upon each of the commentators and take all other actions necessary to successfully complete the promulgation of this regulation.

 7. The regulations embodied in Annex A shall become effective upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

 8. The contact person for this rulemaking is James R. Ney, Director, Taxicab and Limousine Division, (215) 683-9417.

Executive Director

 (Editor's Note: For the text of the order of the Independent Regulatory Review Commission relating to this document, see 44 Pa.B. 5420 (August 9, 2014).)

Fiscal Note: 126-8. (1) Philadelphia Taxicab and Limousine Regulatory Fund; (2) Implementing Year 2014-15 is $44,712; (3) 1st Succeeding Year 2015-16 through 5th Succeeding Year 2019-20 are $650; (4) none; this is a new program; (7) Philadelphia Parking Authority; (8) recommends adoption.

Annex A






§ 1017.5. Basic vehicle standards.

*  *  *  *  *

 (b) Standard taxicab vehicle requirements. Each taxicab is subject to the following requirements:

*  *  *  *  *

 (12) A taxicab must be equipped with a protective shield which separates the front seat from the back seat and bears the manufacturer's name. The protective shield must meet the following minimum requirements:

*  *  *  *  *

 (25) The Authority may require the installation of a separate heating and air conditioning system in a taxicab if necessary to comply with paragraph (19).

 (26) A taxicab must be equipped with a safety camera system approved for use as provided in § 1017.71 (relating to taxicab safety cameras).

 (c) Interstate travel. No requirement of this subpart or any Authority regulation may be interpreted to disrupt or interfere with interstate commerce exclusively regulated by or preempted by the government of the United States.

*  *  *  *  *



1017.71.Taxicab safety cameras.
1017.72.Safety camera system testing.
1017.73.Approved safety camera system.
1017.74.Safety camera requirements.
1017.75.One safety camera system.
1017.76.Certificate holder responsible.
1017.77.Public notice.

§ 1017.71. Taxicab safety cameras.

 (a) Generally. Beginning on February 23, 2015, a taxicab must be equipped with one safety camera system that satisfies the requirements in this subchapter.

 (b) Inspection and approval.

 (1) A taxicab safety camera system must be inspected by the Authority prior to use.

 (2) The Authority will conduct safety camera system testing to ensure the system meets the requirements of this subchapter.

 (3) Upon determining that a safety camera system functions properly, the Enforcement Department will:

 (i) Download and retain a view captured by each camera lens.

 (ii) Seal the data extraction port.

 (iii) Post notice of the safety camera system on the taxicab as provided in § 1017.77(b) (related to public notice).

 (4) A safety camera system may not be used in a taxicab unless it is sealed as provided in paragraph (3). When the seal is broken or damaged, the certificate holder shall remove the taxicab from service immediately and schedule a new safety camera system inspection by the Enforcement Department.

 (5) In the event that a safety camera system is not fully operational, the taxicab shall be taken out of service and the Enforcement Department shall be notified immediately.

§ 1017.72. Safety camera system testing.

 (a) Safety camera system testing may include the road operation of the taxicab with an inspector while the camera system is engaged.

 (b) A safety camera system is subject to a field inspection by an inspector at any time and may be tested as part of each scheduled inspection.

§ 1017.73. Approved safety camera system.

 (a) The Authority will maintain a list of safety camera systems approved for use in taxicabs. The list may be obtained from the Authority's web site at

 (b) A safety camera system may be added to the list maintained under this section upon request of a certificate holder and evidence of compliance with this subchapter.

§ 1017.74. Safety camera requirements.

 (a) The purpose of this section is to establish certain minimum safety camera system requirements.

 (b) A taxicab safety camera system must work in conjunction with the approved meter system used in the taxicab.

 (c) The safety camera system must be in operation during the entire time the vehicle's engine is running and for not less than 1 hour after the engine is turned off.

 (d) The safety camera system may not make an audio recording.

 (e) The safety camera system must record images at designated intervals, including the following:

 (1) Vehicle door openings and closings.

 (2) Meter engagement.

 (3) Distress button activation.

 (f) The safety camera system must be able to record data including:

 (1) The full face of the driver and all occupants seated in passenger seats and facing forward.

 (2) The date and time of the recording.

 (3) The taxicab number.

 (4) The safety camera serial number.

 (g) The safety camera system must record and store images in a unit separate from any camera. The recording and storage unit must be concealed from view and fastened securely to the vehicle.

 (h) In the event that a driver presses the distress button required under § 1017.24(d)(8) (relating to meter activation and display), the safety camera system must immediately transmit all images to the taxicab's dispatcher, in addition to transmission to TLD Headquarters.

§ 1017.75. One safety camera system.

 A taxicab is prohibited from containing a safety camera system other than the approved safety camera system that has been inspected and approved by the Authority for use in that taxicab.

§ 1017.76. Certificate holder responsible.

 The certificate holder shall inspect each taxicab safety camera system prior to service each day to ensure it is in compliance with this subchapter and is in proper working order. A certificate holder may select a person to conduct the inspections required under this section on the certificate holder's behalf.

§ 1017.77. Public notice.

 (a) The Authority will produce a standardized posting to be displayed on taxicabs to provide public notice of the presence of the safety camera system in each taxicab as provided in § 1017.12(b) (relating to required markings and information).

 (b) The notice required under this section shall be affixed prominently to the exterior and interior of every taxicab that employs the use of a safety camera system.


§ 1019.8. Dispatcher requirements.

 (a) General requirements. A dispatcher shall continually maintain standards and equipment capable of providing prompt and adequate service to the public, including the following:

*  *  *  *  *

 (16) Upon receipt of a request for wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) taxicab service directly from a source, including a potential customer or as provided in § 1021.16(a) (relating to service issues regarding people with disabilities), a dispatcher not authorized to dispatch WAV taxicabs shall immediately forward the potential customer's contact information and location to a WAV taxicab dispatcher through a means of electronic communication approved by the Authority.

 (17) Operate and maintain a safety camera system as provided § 1017.73 (relating to approved safety camera system), including the computer hardware and software means of wireless communication necessary.

 (b) WAV taxicab dispatcher authorization and renewal.

*  *  *  *  *

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 14-2183. Filed for public inspection October 24, 2014, 9:00 a.m.]


1  The act of July 16, 2004, (P. L. 758, No. 94), 53 Pa.C.S. §§ 5701 et seq., as amended, (the ''act'').

2  389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967).

3California v. Ciraolo, 476 U.S. 207 (1986).

4Hassan El-Nahal v. David Yassky et al 2014 U.S. Dist. Lexis 13522 (U.S.N.Y January 29, 2014), quoting, Maryland v. Macon, 472 U.S. 463, 469, 105 S. Ct. 2778, 86 L. Ed. 2d 370 (1985).

5Commonwealth v. Duncan, 817 A.2d 455, 463 (Pa. 2003).

6  BPT notes the opinion of a Deputy Attorney General in Nevada regarding a taxicab passenger's expectation of privacy. The opinion is nearly 10 years old and involves the analysis of the law as applied in Nevada. We disagree with the reasoning of that opinion (which ultimately did find the use of certain cameras to be constitutionally appropriate) because it presumes that a passenger's mere presence in a public place is protected. We certainly agree that a taxicab passenger is free from an unreasonable search of a handbag or wallet by the police, but the mere monitoring of the person's presence in this public place cannot rise to the level of an unreasonable search.

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