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City of Madison

Traffic Engineering - Yang Tao, Director

Starting a Taxicab Service

(as of September 2004 )

Everything you need to know about starting a taxicab company can be found in the Madison General Ordinances (MGO), Section 11.06, "Licensing and Regulating Public Passenger Vehicles, for Hire". The General Ordinances can be viewed for free at any Dane County Public Library or found online at:

If you need more information, or copies of pertinent ordinances, (we can make copies at 25 cents/per page). We would also be glad to explain the process or regulations. Please visit or call at (608) 266-4761, the City of Madison Transportation Office. We are located at:

Madison Municipal Building
215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Room 100
Madison, WI

You will need four items from the City to start a taxicab company:

  1. Company Operating License—MGO 11.06 (2), MGO 11.06 (4)
    You can get an applications at the Clerk’s office, City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Room 103 or online at the Clerk's Office ( The non-refundable fee for an operating license is $2,200 for a two-year license that expires in odd-numbered years. The fee is $1,200 if the applicant is applying in the second year of the two-year cycle and will be due when you turn in your application. The Traffic Engineering Division of the Department of Transportation will review your application and ask you for additional information—MGO 11.06 (4)(b). Traffic Engineering staff will make a recommendation to the Transit and Parking Commission concerning your application. The Transit and Parking Commission will make a recommendation to the Common Council. The Common Council makes the decision to approve or deny your application. Renewal taxicab licenses cost $2,200 for two(2) years. All taxicab licenses expire on June 30th. The operating license is not transferable and can be revoked or suspended.
  2. Vehicle Permits—MGO 11.06 (10)
    Every vehicle will need a City-issued vehicle permit. The permits cost $60 each (as of Sept. 2004) . All vehicles are inspected by the Department of Transportation, Traffic Engineering Division. Vehicle permits are purchased annually.
  3. Driver Permits—MGO 11.06 (6)
    Every taxicab driver needs to have a taxicab driver’s permit issued by the Madison Police Department. An application can be obtained in the City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Room GR22, 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The application must be filled out accurately and completely before it is accepted. The cost is $25 (as of Sept. 2004) for an original permit. Drivers must complete the City approved disability and sensitivity training program. Driver’s permits may be revoked or suspended.
  4. All metered taxis must be licensed with City of Madison Weights and Measures. Please vistit the Weights and Measures site to get information on application and process.

Additional Information Summary

(Please note that this is not a complete list of additional requirements):

  • Adequate insurance must be provided with a 30-day cancellation notice to the City—MGO 11.06 (8).
  • Metered and zoned (shared ride) cabs must provide service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—MGO 11.06 (7)(a).
  • Metered and zoned cabs must provide adequate 24 hour accessible taxicab service (MGO 11.06 6 (a) after July 1, 2004 if the Traffic Engineer submits a "finding of need" report to the Mayor, Common Council and Transit and Parking Commission (MGO 11.06 8 (I)
  • Specialized (flat rated) taxicabs for the elderly and people with disabilities have special regulations.
  • All licensed taxicab companies must provide service to the entire City—MGO 11.06 (7)(a).
  • No licensed taxicab company may refuse service—MGO (11.06)(7)(e).
    You must keep certain records and those records must be open for City inspection—MGO 11.06 (11).
  • Your rates must be filed with the City and you may not charge any other rate—MGO 11.06 (9).
  • Metered cabs must provide individual service—MGO 11.06 (9)(7).
  • Drivers may not drive over 12 hours—MGO 11.06 (7)(a).
    Horse-drawn and Peddle cabs have other requirements—MGO 11.06 (7)(j), 11.06(7)(i).
  • It is not necessary to prove convenience and necessity for a new company.
  • The Dane County Regional Airport has additional regulations for taxicabs.