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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.

EXAMPLES OF MAJOR PROBLEMS

A major existing problem is that some jurisdictions allow medallion holders to pay by big taxi-cab companies for the use of their medallions. That creates monopoly, restrain free trade and eliminate competition. Medallions or permits should be restricted to use by those to whom they were issued, county-wide.

Other jurisdiction issued the medallion or permit at no cost directly to taxi-cab companies which provide daily rent, full lease or partial lease to taxi-cab drivers at an exorbitant price. After one or two years of owning those medallions or permits, taxi-cab companies resale them to taxi-cab drivers for a lump sum of money in the range of $5,000.00 to more than $150,000.00. Taxi-cab companies later on, return and request more medallions or permits from city or county governments and do the same thing again.

This is antitrust problem, corruption, financial fraud and illegal earnings. Local government should stop behave this way because the drivers and the passengers suffer, exploit and pay for the consequence of their action.

Also in violation of federal code, sometimes at airports and seaports taxi-cab drivers are forced to pick up passengers with children under five years old in order to fulfill passengers needs when the cab has no child seat. Foreign travelers who are unaware of the child safety seat law usually feel discriminated against when taxi-cab drivers refuse to pick them up with their infants. We do not expect that our local governments are going to do anything about it.

It is urgent for DOJ, FTC, DOT and Congress to step up in order to solve the lack of civil rights enforcement, verbal harassment by law and code enforcement officers, inequality and other problems that exist in the taxi-cab industry. Extending the application of United States and international labor law standards to employees in the taxi-cab industry is a must. Congress should identify and address all obstacles which prevent their full application in order to promote social justice, fairness and to maintain a strong economy

In violation of U.S. code 49 USC Section 5302 (7),(10),(14); some jurisdictions like Miami-Dade County allow a “ Passenger Motor Carrier” (PMC), which is an intercity, sightseeing and charter vehicle, to do intracity public transportation. Also, the county promote unfair and destructive practices by permitting PMC to compete with public transportation vehicle, transit and mass transportation vehicles which is prohibited by 49 USC Section 13101 (a),(1), (D), (F), and 49 USC Section 13101 (a), (2), (I), (J), and other sections of the U.S. code.

This form of transportation (PMC), created by Miami-Dade County and the County Commission, picks up non pre-arranged fares daily at all hotels, motels and the Port-of-Miami, especially when cruise lines passengers are disembarking, which puts taxi-cabs and shuttle bus out of business. Consequently, the Department of Justice and Department of transportation should order the following:

1- Passenger Motors Vehicles (PMC) shall not come into the Port of Miami or Miami International Airport unless if they have to drop off or pick up a pre-arranged passengers. See 49 USC Section 13102 (17) (Exhibit F)

2- If it is a drop off, they must drop the passengers off and leave the seaport or the airport immediately thereafter. They have no right to pick up anyone except pre-arranged passengers.

3- If it is a pick-up at the sea-port, the driver shall provide a list that has the full name, address, and passport number of his/her passenger, including the name of the vessel which brings the passengers at the seaport to a code or law enforcement officer who will verify the validity of the pick-up with the ship agent.

A) The ship agent shall collect the full name, address, and passport number of each passenger who will take a sightseeing, intercity or

charter vehicle and make the list available to law and code enforcement officers who are working at the Port of Miami.

(B) It shall be unlawful for charter, sightseeing and intercity vehicles to pick up a non-prearranged passenger upon disembarking. Each ship shall have its pre-arranged passenger list located near the exit door of its own terminal. Violators shall be punished according to federal, state and local law.

C) The names that are on the list of each driver as well as the list provided by the ship agent shall be typed with fourteen (14) point font and not hand-written.

D) A pre-arranged fare shall be made 24 hours in advance of the pick-up date.

E) No Passenger Motor Carrier (PMC) greeter shall be allowed at any seaports for any reason, as they have been proven to be a source of violation.

A major error that exists in Miami-Dade County Code is the fact that it includes “Jitney”, a fifteen (15) passenger vehicle which offers transit services to the public in specific routes, in the same category as sightseeing, intercity and charter transportation vehicles. The Federal Code is clear. Mass transportation, and transit transportation are “public transportation”. See 49 U.S.C. Section 5302 (7) and (14). As a result, the Jitney should be in the category in which it belongs, transit transportation, as city and county buses are.

U.S. Code 49 U.S.C. Section 13506 (a) (2) generally exclude the Secretary of Transportation and Surface Transportation Board from exercising jurisdiction over taxi-cab services. However, 49 U.S.C. 13506 (b) allows the Secretary of Transportation or Surface Transportation Board to exercise jurisdiction to carry out the transportation policy of Section 13101 when it is necessary.

Today, all conditions and criteria of 49 U.S.C. Section 13506 (b) are met in order for the Secretary or the Board to enforce part of 49 U.S.C. Section 13101 in the taxi-cab industry because of major violations of 49 U.S.C. Section 13101 (a) (1) (B),(D),(F) and 49 U.S.C. Section 13101 (a) (2) (I), (J) caused by most cities and county governments nationwide.

As the Secretary or the Board is reluctant to enforce the above codes, it is the duty of the antitrust Department of the Department of Justice to solve those problems and to deregulate taxi-cab medallions in the U.S. The hack license number or taxi operator's license number of the cab driver should also be the medallion number or permit number of the taxi-cab driver and the licensed vehicle should be operated only by the taxi-cab driver it was assigned to.

A regulation like that will prevent to much taxi-cab on the road, stop investors and companies from monopolizing taxi-cab medallion or county permit, and keep the meter fare at its lowest cost. Cab drivers will spend less time on the road and economize more money. Residents, tourists, and economically disadvantage individuals will save more money. More people living in big cities will find jobs. The unemployment rate will decrease because of million of new self-employed that will be created nationwide.

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