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Taxi and Limousine Commission

News about the Taxi and Limousine Commission. Commentary and archival information about the Taxi and Limousine Commission from The New York Times.

Deregulate Taxi Occupational License Currently Named Taxi For-Hire License Or Taxi Medallion As Well As The Entire Taxi-Cab Industry.


Taxi-cab Drivers Are Claiming Their Constitutional Rights, Their Civil Rights And Their Labor Rights.  The Money They Make Today Will Be Used To Pay For Their Taxi Vehicle Lease Tomorrow.  They Are Living In Involuntary Servitude.  They Count On: Congress, US Attorney General, Antitrust Division of The  Department Of Justice, The White House and Civil Rights Organizations To Step In Because State and Local Jurisdiction violated Section One of The Sherman Act, Their Thirteenth and Their Fourteenth Amendment Rights.

 

United States Code 49 Section 13102 (22) Taxicab service
The term “taxicab service” means passenger transportation in a motor vehicle having a capacity of not more than 8 passengers (including the driver), not operated on a regular route or between specified places, and that-
(A) is licensed as a taxicab by a State or a local jurisdiction;

 

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, Third Edition, in Constitutional law and in the law of contracts, the legal definition of a license is a permission accorded by a competent authority, conferring the right to do some act which without such authorization would be illegal, or would be a trespass or a tort.  A permit or privilege to do what otherwise would be unlawful.

Darnay, quoted on the US Legal website, stated that “a license is simply the right to do or to use something.  Licenses divide into three basic forms:

  1.  The right or permission to carry out an activity otherwise regulated or prohibited by  government [some examples are driver’s license, boat license, CDL license, license plate, Bar license, occupational license in the sense of occupying a store or an office or a business or using a motor vehicle to carry people or goods  for profit, etc.];
  2.  The right to use a name, image, including representation (including a brand) in packaging, promotion, signage, marketing, and similar contexts; [a few examples are trademark, supermarket, retailer, etc.] and
  3.  The right to use and apply proprietary know-how, whether patented or not, for any legal purpose, including its integral embodiment in products.”  [Examples are Pepsi Cola, Coca-Cola, Palmolive, Toyota, McDonald, intellectual property, patents, etc]
    [Italicized words are not from the quote;  they are inserted for explanation.]

The following should all be viewed as similar:

 Occupational license = For hire license = N Number = USDOT number = Taxi Medallion = Permit
 
Whatever: they are named them.  All of them are license and permit issue by a competent authority in order to operate a business if you are self-employed or if your business is opened to the public.
 
However, they currently are NOT, taxi medallions, under the current system are completely different.
 
All businesses are entitled to get the same treatment under the law.

If an attorney, a carpenter, a mechanic, a technician, a physician, a hair dresser, a corporation, a LLC, a partnership, anyone qualified and any entity who wants to open a business to serve the public legally in any jurisdiction, local governments will give them a permit or a license in order to operate in that location right away.

Amongst all professions, only the taxi drivers are subject to quotas licenses, or quota permit taxi medallions or quotas for-hire licenses. Of course, it is a monopoly, and a violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act because private companies and state and local governments restrain the market and cause the meter fare move from $1.50 a mile in Washington, DC, $2.40 a mile in Miami, Florida to $2.70 a mile in Los Angeles.  New York City, the biggest monopolist jurisdiction for taxi-cab in the entire nation, just hit its residents by increasing the meter fares 17%  instead of deregulating its taxi medallion system.  

It is slavery, involuntary servitude, because cab drivers must work 12 hours, 15 hours to 20 hours a day in order to make ends meet and to keep driving the licensed vehicle.  It is a violation of the Fourteen and Thirteenth Amendment.  Also, the drivers usually have to drive unsafe and under equipped vehicles without child safety seats, putting pedestrian, passengers and their own life at risk.  State and local jurisdictions knew about it.  Unfortunately, they refused to solve those problems in order to protect the interests of taxi-cab companies and the taxi license holders.

Discrimination because taxi drivers are self-employed and are not treated by states and local governments the same way they treat all other kinds of businesses,  they are first generation American citizens and almost all of them are black, Hispanic, middle eastern and minority. This discrimination is based on race and national origin. Consequently, we seek protection from the Department of Justice and OSHA (Occupational Safety Health Administration).

Taxi-cab drivers are self-employed. An analogy would be that someone wants to open a business or a restaurant in a specific location, and after buying and installing all of the equipments, he or she applies to county or city governments in order to get an occupational license or permit. Local governments say, “No, we cannot give you a license or permit in order to sell food. There is a McDonalds, a Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Burger King Three to five blocks away from where you want to open your restaurant. They already have licenses or permits.  Go to see them, and if they wish, they will rent or lease you a space in order to sell your food under their license or permit.” This is the experience of most taxi-cab drivers in the United States of America.

The taxi-cab medallion is not a stock or a piece of real estate or an equipment, or a consumer good or an industrial good or security bond. States and local governments should stop considering it to be similar to that. “Taxi medallion” is the name of the for-hire license registration number for the taxi-cab vehicle, like the “N” number is the name of the for-hire license registration number for the aircraft, and the USDOT number is the name of the for-hire license registration number for a commercial vehicle like a truck, bus, etc.  Owning a taxi-cab medallion is a human rights, civil rights and labor rights issue. This right belongs first to taxi-cab drivers, not investors.
 
 An aircraft “N” number (“N” number is the name of “for-hire license registration for aircraft”) costs ten dollars ($10.00). The price of a USDOT number (USDOT number is the name of “for-hire license registration for commercial vehicles like trucks, buses, etc.”) is between $150.00 and $550.00. A water vessel registration number (for-hire license registration for vessel) is less than $100.00 in most states. But why does the value of a taxi-cab medallion (“medallion” is the name of for-hire license registration for taxi-cab”) have to reach the $100.00 to one million dollar range?


The New York City style taxi medallion system that we see in some jurisdictions is illegal and damaging the economy of our nation.  It violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, US and international labor rights.  It put cab drivers under involuntary servitude as they have to work at least 12 hours, 15 hours, 20 hours a day in order to make ends meet and to keep driving the licensed vehicle.  It dehumanized the drivers and made them work as a slave.  It is a violation of the Thirteenth Amendment.   

There is almost no expense associated with licensing a motor vehicle or assigning a registration number to a vehicle.  Just the cost of the paper, the printing, and the processing time. If the for-hire license or taxi medallion holders wish to leave an asset for their heirs, they should make a legal investment.  For example, there are life insurance and variable life insurance, whole life insurance and variable whole life insurance, universal life insurance and variable universal life insurance, annuity and variable annuity, IRA, real estate investments, etc.  

Therefore, licenses like occupational license, driver license, professional license, for-hire license, taxi medallion, N number and US DOT number that give someone the right or permission to carry out an activity otherwise regulated or prohibited by government shall not be treated as an asset because it will violate the Fourteenth Amendment, the Bill of Rights, the antitrust law, the labor rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations.
 
It is the duty of Congress and the appropriate Federal department office
(DOJ-Antitrust Division, US attorney General, OSHA and Department of Transportation), to solve this antitrust law and other safety problems.

States deny taxi drivers within their jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Cab drivers are the only group of self-employees that cannot get an occupational license (for-hire license or taxi medallion) for their business after obtaining their professional license (chauffeur or operator or hack license).  This is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause (section one) of the Fourteenth Amendment.

State and local jurisdictions shall stop creating laws making cab drivers  living in involuntary servitude.  In most jurisdictions, state and local governments make law for the cab drivers to labor for cab companies and the medallion holders.  In today’s market, the money that the driver makes today will be used to pay for tomorrow’s lease. To do it, they must work 12 hours, 15 hours, 20 hours a day. Sometimes they even stay three days on the road without returning home.  It is a violation of the Thirteenth Amendment. 

 

The legal definition of involuntary servitude is intentionally and unlawfully restraining another’s freedom to labor against his or her will for the benefit of another. Involuntary servitude does not depend upon compensation or its amount.

There should be no limit on the number of taxi permits or for-hire licenses issued at a particular locale. The permitting fee should be reasonable, such as in Washington, D.C. and West Palm Beach, Florida where the driver may obtain a taxi for-hire license or taxi medallion for $100. Free market forces will naturally determine the number of taxi drivers and taxi licenses in a locale.
 
The rule of one driver, one taxi for-hire license (taxi permit or taxi medallion) should be the priority of each state or local jurisdiction - just as the driver-owner operators system brings success in our nation’s Capital.
 
In the unfair taxi regulation schemes, in most jurisdictions, the taxi driver cannot modify the fixed meter rate. Taxi drivers should have the freedom to adjust the meter rate in order to accommodate passengers who are unable to afford at a higher rate. This will better serve the need of the drivers and the passengers.
 
Local government should have the power to put an upper limit on the rate not to fix the rate.
 
Allowing only a single cab company to pick up passengers at the airport like in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Florida and other jurisdictions is a monopoly and a violation of the antitrust law. Therefore, international airports should provide a taxi lot or a stand which should be able to hold at least 1,500 taxi-cabs in order to prepare for the next century. They must be opened to any taxi-cab of their county in order to pick up passengers, regardless of their company affiliation. Passengers will benefit from competition through lower prices and better services.

For example, counties with international airports having a population of less than 2,500,000 people should create a taxi lot that can accommodate a minimum of 1,500 taxi-cabs.  However, for counties with a population higher than 2,500,000 inhabitants, a taxi lot with a minimum holding capacity of 2,000 taxi-cabs should be created.

Whereas there is not enough space in order to accommodate this quantity of vehicles, high rise parking lot with several stories adjacent to the airport terminal shall be built in order to meet those needs.  In most jurisdiction, the drivers are willing to pay for the expenses associated with the building of the taxi lot, as cabbies will be free from a $20,000.00 to $50,000.00 lease per year.  As a result, no Federal or State grants are needed where they are not available.  It is a win-win situation.
 
Rental car companies, buses, Shuttles, customer parking lots have enough parking spaces for their vehicles. As a result, cab drivers claim the same rights because in Miami, Florida each professional taxi driver pays the airport a fee which is more than $2,000.00 a year in order to park.

Today, public transportation is by far one of the fastest growing sources of revenue for our local governments. For example, in Miami, Florida a professional cab driver spends more than $5,000.00 in tolls and gas taxes per year. This is at least twice as much money as 50% of property owners pay as property taxes in Miami Dade County. It is almost double the median property tax in Miami-Dade County, Florida of about $2,600.00.

Under the umbrella of the United States Bill of Rights and the Antitrust Law, Fifth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations, we need to deregulate taxi-cab medallion (for-hire license) and the entire taxi-cab industry. Consequently, the US attorney general, Mr. Eric H. Holder, Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, the White House, Congress, civil rights organizations like NAACP, IJ and ACLU, and NAG should step in, to protect the consumers, the cab drivers and deregulate taxi-cab medallions.
 
We strongly believe that the hack license number or operator license number or chauffeur license number of the cab driver should be the taxi medallion number or for-hire license number or taxi license number of his or her vehicle. The licensed vehicle should drive only by the driver it was assigned to, in order to prevent too many taxi-cabs on the road.  Once retired or out of public transportation businesses, the license shall be returned to the state or local jurisdiction not to be sold to another driver or a cab company.
 
The taxi medallion (taxi for-hire license or permit) and its vehicle should be free from any liens and should not be a part of compensation in any personal injury and civil lawsuit.
 
Deregulation will lower taxi-cab fares, increase competition, allow more economically disadvantaged individuals to ride taxi-cabs, change the social and economic situation of the cab drivers, create new jobs, increase interstate tourists, bring better service to consumers, putting better and more equipped vehicles on the road such as eight passenger seat [See 49 USC Section 13102 (20)] hybrid or clean fuel formula vehicles with handicap accessibility and several child safety seats all in one for five years old and under, camera, GPS, computerized systems that are capable to record quickly each trip and fare, credit card machine, partition or bullet proof cabin for security with strong automatic lock in all doors in order to guarantee payment in risky areas.
 
Today, it is almost impossible for a taxi-cab driver to make a living because of their expensive lease of $20,000.00 to $50,000.00 a year. Residents who are experiencing financial problems are increasingly unable to commute in urban areas and are increasingly attempting to bargain for lower taxi fares, and taxi operators are not able to bring their fares down due to their weekly taxi expenses.
 
Finally, it does not matter if you have an occupational license, a for-hire license, a N number, an USDOT number, a taxi medallion. All of them are licenses or permits that allow someone to legally run a business in a specific jurisdiction. Therefore, a taxi for-hire license or medallion should not have a monetary value higher than all other licenses or permits.

There is a proposed bill to Congress that can be downloaded for free at the national association website.  The address is www.myaatc.org  
Scroll down on the left side of the page and click on “Download PDF to Congress” or “Proposal to Congress“.  Copy it and give it to member of Congress of your jurisdiction.

The legal department of AATC is looking for powerful attorneys specializing in constitutional, antitrust, civil rights, discrimination and transportation law in order to defend the rights of taxi-cab drivers and the consumers and to challenge the taxi medallion and the crappy taxi association and union leaders, as well as some monopolist elected officials at city, county, state and federal levels, who seek to use the power of government to impose their selfish and opportunist view on the rest of us.  “No state shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws“.  (14th Amendment, Equal Protection Clause).  

Taxi drivers are self-employed.  Therefore, they are entitled to have an occupational license “for-hire license or taxi medallion” for their own businesses.  Driver owner-operators, retired driver medallion owners, and investors should be paid a fair market value for the medallions because local governments misled them and allowed them to make a risky and shameful investment. The taxi medallion is not fit or qualified to be considered as an asset. It is just the name of the permit or license for the taxi-cab vehicle and the name of the for-hire license registration, as well as the name of the occupational license for the vehicle, like all the other forms of transportation and business.

The fair market value of the taxi medallion is the average sale price of the previous ten years, excluding 2011 and the years after.  Each county should examine their public record to find out the quantity of taxi licenses sold in the year 2000.  The sale prices for all taxi medallions sold that year should be totaled and divided by the total number of taxi for-hire license sold that year, in order to determine the annual average value for the year.  Repeat the same process for all subsequent years.
Total the annual average value found for that ten years, and divide it by ten, to determine the market value of the medallion for that county.

Under section 5310 of Title 49 and other sections of the Code, county and state governments shall help cab drivers to obtain finance for their taxi for-hire license and their vehicle at a low interest rate not to exceed 7% per annum regardless of credit score.  Financing can also be done through a private financial institution or Small Business Administration (SBA loan).

Can the airlines sell their N number for $100,000.00?  
Can the truck drivers sell their USDOT number for $100,000.00?  Which business in the United States can sell its occupational license for $100,000.00?  This government monopoly exists only in the taxi-cab industry.

Also, Congress should delete 49 USC Section 13506 (a) (2), which exempt most taxi-cabs from Secretary and Surface Transportation Board jurisdiction.  Congress should also allow the Secretary and the Board to have jurisdiction over a motor vehicle providing taxi-cab services due to the involvement of taxi-cab vehicles in interstate commerce;  and due to U.S. Constitution violations as well as antitrust problems caused by states and local governments.

At the passenger’s request, taxi-cabs usually cross state lines or several states in order to drop off their clients. For example, after September 11, 2001, several taxi-cab drivers in Miami, Florida received fares all the way to the State of New York and several other states because cruise lines tourists and other travelers were afraid and scared to commute by air. Unfortunately, some of those taxi-cab drivers are paid less than half of the fare because Congress does not cover taxi-cab under interstate commerce.
 
Consider a $3,000.00 taxi-cab fare after September 11, 2001 from Miami, Florida to Cincinnati, Ohio, ending up with the driver collecting only $1,000.00 from the passenger. The driver did not have opportunity to collect even a part of the remaining 66.67% of the total cost of the fare.
 
Also, taxi-cabs, which are operating in counties that are located close to or at the border of two or three different states always engage in interstate commerce daily, weekly or on a monthly or yearly basis. For example, cab drivers in Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and other cities of the state of Florida usually drop fare in the State of Georgia and Alabama...etc.   Drivers in the District of Colombia, the state of Maryland, Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Nevada, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, etc usually engage in interstate commerce.
 

To prevent selling of taxi-cab fares by valets, managers and owners of motel, hotels, condo, restaurants, apartments complex, public places and places with high demand for taxi-cab:

The front, including all entrances and exits facing a public road of all hotels, motels, restaurants; apartment complexes, condominiums, any non-public and public places with high demand for taxi-cabs shall be equipped with a green or blue light flashing or non- flashing with the word “TAXI” in order to warn taxi drivers that there is a prospective customer ready to pick up.
The light shall turn on once the passenger is ready and stay on while waiting.
The passenger shall be available for pick up by the first vehicle arriving on the premises if the institution has no taxi-cab stand.
Unless otherwise requested by the passenger, the rule of first in, first out must be observed if the institution has a taxi-cab stand.
The light shall turn off, once the vehicle left the premise with the passenger.
Failure to turn the light on by the valets in time and those providing assistance to the passengers shall constitute a violation of the law and shall be subjected to fine by any law and code enforcement officers.
The switch of the light shall also be accessible to turn on by the passenger.
Anyone witnessed by any person with clear evidence or by any law or code enforcement officers buying or selling taxi-cab fares, both the giver and the receiver shall receive a citation for a least $1000.00 each if it is their first offense.
For second and more offenses, at the discretion of the court additional penalties shall be applied. In addition to the Court penalty, repeat offenders can see their fine double, triple, quadruple, quintuple and even more.

The taxi-cab is the only reasonably-priced form of transportation we have that can bring you from point A to point B, whatever the road condition and at anytime. It is fast, quick, on time and can go anywhere. Anyone can use it country-wide. It is time to make it more affordable to all US citizens, residents, and visitors. Deregulate the taxi-cab industry and the medallion as well as pass Federal legislation like the one that is on www.myaatc.org, is the first way to start.
 
This is why we need to set a new standard in mass and public transportation. Taxi-Cabs should have a larger section in the United States Code than 49 USC 13102 (22) (A) (B) (i) (ii) and a better section than 49 USC Section 13506 (a) (2). The drivers and the public will be very thankful to you if you can help them reach this goal.

 
Membership and donation are accepted through our website  www.myaatc.org or our mailing address:
            
AATC
American Association For Taxi Cabs
P.O. Box 471751 Miami, FL 33247-1751

We strongly count on Congress and the Department of Justice in order to end the monopolization of taxi for-hire license “taxi medallion” and the entire taxi-cab industry, as well as to set a new standard in mass and public transportation. We wish that both entities act soon on this matter at their earliest.

 

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