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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.

 

 

 

ANTITRUST PROBLEMS

 

State and local governments violate 15 USC Section 3(b) of the antitrust law and other sections of this law. When city and county governments monopolize taxi-cab medallions or permits and refuse to issue new medallions or permits to professional taxi-cab drivers in order to increase the medallion cost, and thus force the driver to lease and rent from taxi-cab companies at an exorbitant price, it is an antitrust law problem. Their actions cause the medallion and the permit cost to increase to a range of $1,000.00 to $600,000.00.

 

Drivers lease and rent from taxi-cab companies for more than $34,500.00 a year. The consequence is that taxi-cab fares are increase to a rate that residents, tourists and the economically disadvantaged individuals cannot afford.

 

It is an antitrust law problem because the economic power is concentrated in the hands of a few and the cab drivers have to work as slaves, about 10 hours,18 hours to 20 hours a day, in order to make ends meet. That situation allows cities, counties and taxi-cab companies to monopolize the market, restrain free trade and prevent a better mass and public transportation system as well as prevent a stable economic growth. Both the passengers and the taxi-cab drivers were injured and exploited because of state and local governments’ behavior.

 

In some jurisdictions such as Fort Myers, Florida; Washington, D. C. (two years ago)and West Palm Beach, Florida, owning a taxi-cab medallion or permit (for-hire license) is a right that belongs to the professional taxi-cab drivers, not a privilege or a favor. It should be that way nationwide.

 

For example, if American Airlines, United Airlines… wishes to put 200 aircrafts in service the federal government will issue 200 aircraft “N” Numbers (N number is the name of for-hire license "occupational license" registration for aircraft) to the airlines company immediately. But why do we prevent the poor taxi-cab driver from obtaining a medallion/permit when he/she needs only one medallion/permit to take care of his/her family?

 

In order to promote fair competition, good trade, equal opportunity, fairness and to prevent too much taxi-cab on the road; and to stop investors monopolize taxi-cab medallion or county permit , I strongly believe that the hack license number or taxi operator's license number of the driver should also be the medallion number or permit number or for-hire license number of the taxi-cab driver and the licensed vehicle should be operated only by the taxi-cab driver it was assigned to. The medallion and its vehicle shall be free from any liens and cannot be a part of compensation in any personal injury and civil lawsuit.

 

All personal injury claims shall be made according to 49 U.S.C. Section 5340 (J) of the AATC’s proposed bill.

 

It is at the same time an antitrust law problem, a constitutional law problem, a human rights problem, a civil rights problem and a labor right problem. The federal government, Congress, US Department of Justice, US Department of Commerce and US Department of Transportation should intervene in order to deregulate taxi-cab medallions and taxi-cab permits as well as the whole taxi-cab industry.

 

The taxi-cab medallion is not a stock or a piece of real estate. States and local governments should stop considering it to be like that. 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 truck, bus, etc.

 

Aside from Washington D.C. (two years ago), most City and County codes as well as the statutes of most States prevent taxi-cab drivers from making a living and having a decent life as a human being.

 

Taxi-cab drivers deserve a better treatment than that and a fair share of the money generated in the public transportation industry, because it is at the same time a human right, a civil right, a labor right, a constitutional right and an antitrust law problem.

 

An aircraft “N” number (“N” number is the name of “for-hire license registration for aircraft”) cost ten dollars ($10.00). The price of a USDOT number (USDOT number is the name of “for-hire license registration for commercial vehicle 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 $1,000.00 to $600,000.00 range?

 

There is almost no expense associated with assigning a registration number to a vehicle. Just the cost of the paper, the printing, and the processing time. It is the duty of Congress and the appropriate Federal department office (DOJ) to solve this antitrust law problem.

 

There are U.S. Supreme Court cases that invalidate particular state and local regulations of public passenger vehicles for-hire due to their impact on interstate commerce in violation of the U.S. Constitution. See 49 U.S.C.S. Section 13506 n 8.

 

In some areas like Miami-Dade County, Florida, taxi cab drivers pay more than $32,700.00 a year for their lease which includes insurance. Unfortunately, when the drivers get involved in an automobile accident, the taxi-cab company claims that: “ Your passengers, and the driver and passengers of the other vehicles are covered but you are not covered by the company’s insurance policy’’. The driver has to spend his or her own money in order to repair the vehicle and to get proper medical care, Transportation anti-trust problems.

 

Another antitrust violation is when taxi-cab companies create a direct phone line with a hotel. Inns of Virginia located at 3335 Lee Highway, Arlington, Virginia is an example. As a result, the hotel guests only get rides with taxi-cabs of that company, while excluding the others. This is a monopoly. Visitors and tourists do not have opportunity to call taxi-cab companies others than those offered by hotel valets and receptionists.

 

In violation of their own jurisdiction’s code, some hotels and motels prefer to partner with unlicensed drivers who sometimes rip off passengers in order to make money. According to some District of Columbia taxi-cab drivers, when Quality Inn’s guests ask the receptionist to call a cab for them, hotel workers state the taxi-cab company put them ‘’ on hold’’ and after 15 minutes an SUV or a Van (private vehicle) comes and the receptionist says: “Sir, this is your taxi driver.” Quality Inn located at 501 NE New York Avenue NE, Washington, DC is an example.

 

Hotels sometimes might receive kickbacks from taxi-cab companies for that service.

Other hotel valets in New York, Miami Beach, Florida and other states sell taxi-cab fares (customers) directly to taxi-cab drivers for cash. Even if the guest needs a taxi-cab, valets do not release the fare unless the taxi-cab driver agrees to pay them $5, $8, $10, $15, $20, $30, kickback.

 

These antitrust violations problems that happen in hotels and motels around the country can only be solve by 49 USCS 5340 (e) (9) of the AATC’s proposed bill and AATC's "Current Bill To Congress".

 

At Fort-Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (three years ago), only Yellow Cab is allowed to pick up passengers at the airport while all the other companies can only drop off passengers. City and County governments took away the right of other companies to pick up anyone in any terminals. This is a monopoly and an unfair trade practice. See 49 USC Section 5340 (e) (8) of the AATC’s proposed bill.

 

The proposal can easily solve the problem. The county government can generate much money by charging each cab driver a $2.00 airport charge, as they do at Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami. Also, be advised that a professional cab driver who works at Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami pays more than $5,000.00 a year in city, county and state toll charges.

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2011 - American Association For Taxi Cabs (AATC) - All rights reserved