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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.

 

 

TO: Member of Congress

 

From: American Association For Taxi Cabs (AATC)
            P.O. Box 471751
            Miami, FL 33247-1751
            Tel: 305-301-2396
            Fax: 877-729-9996
           
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
            Website: www.myaatc.org

 

Honorable Member of Congress:

 

Please help taxi drivers in the United States get rid of the medallion system, the leasing system and the sub-contracting system which are causing slave-like conditions, expensive cab rides, higher risk of accidental injury and unsafe vehicles on the road.

 

Taxi-cab drivers as self-employed workers are seeking equal rights and equal protection under the 14th Amendment in the transportation industry, and protection from the Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Department of Transportation, Department of Commerce, Congress, the White House, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The money cab drivers make today will be used to pay for their taxi vehicle leases tomorrow.

 

Taxi cab drivers are being subject to unfair and discriminatory licensing schemes, price fixing or fix meter rate by local jurisdiction, and huge fee credit card processing machine charges ranging from 6% to 90% in the majority of local jurisdictions in the U.S. (for example, Miami, Florida). If state and local government did not prevent them from opening their own merchant accounts in a commercial bank of their choice they would get a much lower rate which is more competitive, and below 3%.

 

Taxi Occupational License known as Taxi For-hire License or taxi medallion shall not be converted into financial security.  Self-employed cab drivers are entitled to get an occupational license for their businesses like all other self employed people.

 

In various states, counties and cities with these unfair licensing schemes, taxi cab drivers are not permitted to obtain an occupational license and become a sole proprietor for the taxis that they operate. Instead, they must either purchase a special type of permit, often called a “medallion”, which is usually extremely expensive and which is considered to be “property or financial security”, similar to a stock or a bond security, or, alternatively, rent a taxi cab from the medallion owners, resulting in slave-like conditions of working 10 to 24 hours a day on the road in order to make ends meet.

 

The latter condition, which is the condition for most taxi cab drivers in this nation, results in an unnecessary higher risk of accidental injury to the driver and his/her passengers, and results in high levels of stress and diminished health and longevity for the drivers. This type of scheme also unfairly discriminates between the taxi cab driver occupation and other occupations in which sole proprietorship is much more easily attainable.

 

 

We wish that:

 

1.   United States Department of Transportation, US Department of Labor, US Department of Justice, US Department of Commerce, The White House, and Congress help us turn our proposed bill to Congress into law. (Go to www.myaatc.org click on “Current Campaigns”, click on “Current bill to Congress”) or go to (http://www.myaatc.org/current-campaigns/current-bill-to-congress).

 

2.   The Secretary of Transportation and the Surface Transportation Board as well as Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration should step in to use the power given in 49 USC §13506 (b) in order to destroy taxi medallion as of today. It is necessary and urgent to enforce the transportation policy of United States Government stated in 49 USC § 13101 because taxi cabs crossed state line and several states in order to drop passengers (See www.myaatc.org click on “Our Library”). States and local jurisdictions violate the equal protection rights of cab drivers provided in the 14th amendment, the antitrust law, the civil rights act, the labor right law and US constitution. We need a federal oversight in order to police taxi industry nationwide in order to prevent the above violations.

 

Be advised that, in “Ghaleb Ibrahim vs City of Milwaukee”, the Courts ruled: “Taxi medallions are unconstitutional” and “Taxi cab caps are unconstitutional”.

 

In Joe Sanfelippo Cabs Inc, GCC Inc, Roy WMS Inc, Frenchy Cab Co, Inc, and 2 Sweets Inc (Plaintiffs) VS. City of Milwaukee, WI (defendant) the federal court ruled that “It is not in the public interest for qualified individuals who seek such permits not to be able to obtain them.”

 

Also, the court noted that: "The argument that the language of the ordinance together with selected statements of City representatives amounted to an irrevocable promise that the City would never issue another taxicab permit or amend its transportation regulations so as to devalue taxicab permits in the commercial market is without merit."

 

The Court stated that the plaintiffs — Joe Sanfelippo Cabs Inc., GCC Inc., Roy WMS Inc., Frenchy Cab Co. Inc. and 2 Sweets, LLC (Plantiffs) — can still operate their taxis.

 

On August 17, 2009 United States Court of appeals, Eight circuit (572 F. 3d 509) ruled, in Minneapolis Taxi Owners Coalition VS. City of Minneapolis, that "any property interest that the taxicab-license holders' may possess does not extend to the market value of the taxicab licenses derived through the closed nature of the City's taxicab market. Without such a property interest, their takings claim necessarily fails".

 

 

3.   49 USC §13506 (a) (2) should be deleted.

 

4.   We need a Federal oversight in order to police taxi-cab industry nation-wide over safety (currently no child safety seats in any taxis), vehicle to use with a maximum mileage, equal protection rights violation (14th amendment), civil right violations, human right violations, US and International labor right violations as well as antitrust law violations.

 

5.  State and local governments should stop putting cab drivers under quota occupational licenses like Florida Statute 125.01 (1) (n).  Taxi occupational license known as taxi for-hire license is a privilege and the right to own one is a human rights, civil rights and labor rights.  This right belongs first to legitimate taxi-cab drivers, not investors. State and local jurisdictions should allow cab drivers to use their professional license number known as hack license number as their taxi vehicle occupational (for-hire) license number, and the licensed vehicle should be driven 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.

 

6.   If the government requires a person to have a professional license in order to practice his/her profession, when the person obtains that professional license, he/she will have two choices – working for him/herself or for an employer. If one chooses to work for him/herself, one needs an occupational license and/or local business tax receipt for his/her business before serving the public. State or local jurisdictions, for a fee,   promptly provide that occupational license or local business tax receipt. For example, a licensed attorney, physician,   commercial truck driver, plumber, etc., immediately upon being licensed, is free to “hang out a shingle” and offer their professional services for hire. However, that is not the case with taxi-cab drivers. If you are a taxi-cab driver in most jurisdictions (with notable exceptions such as Washington, D.C. two years ago, Naples, Florida and a few other jurisdictions), you must work virtually as a slave for cab companies and the taxi medallion/permit holders. This is a violation of the cab drivers’ rights under the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

 

7.   Transportation Networking Entities like Uber, Lyft and similar companies using an app in order to offer dispatching service to non-licensing taxi drivers and non-licensing taxi-cabs violate the equal protection clause of our 14th amendment, 49 USC§13101(a)(1)(B,D,F) and 49 USC §13102 (22). Transportation Networking Entities are destructive competition and violate the federal codes. As stated in 49 USC§13101(a)(1)(D), “to ensure the development, coordination, and preservation of a transportation system that meets the transportation needs of the United States, including the United States Postal Service and national defense, it is the policy of the United States Government to oversees the modes of transportation and to encourage the establishment and maintenance of reasonable rates for transportation, without unreasonable discrimination or unfair or destructive competitive practices;”

 

Transportation Networking Entity is Destructive Competition and violates United States Code 49, Subsection 13101 (a) (1) (D) stated above. They are providing taxi cab services and are not entitled to get a different kind of license.                           

 

 

a.   Competition definition: Competition is a fight in order to control a specific market by using all legal rules that are not conflicting with the constitution or/and the U.N. Universal Declaration Of Human Rights.

 

 

b.   In dictionary.com, the American Heritage® Destructive competition definition:

New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition, defined destructive competition as competition that forces several producers out of the market. Destructive competition usually occurs when there are so many producers of a product that prices are driven down to the point where no one makes a profit. It can also happen if a single producer is significantly wealthier than other producers and can afford to cut prices drastically until the other producers are driven out of business.

 

c.  Producer definition: Producer is a person, company, institution, organization or country that makes, produces, or supplies goods, services or commodities for sale to the public or a specific market.

 

It is the duty of the United States government “The Federal Government” under section 49 §13506 (b) “not the State or local jurisdiction”, to enforce the entire transportation policy of United States “49 USC § 13101” without unreasonable discrimination or unfair or destructive competitive practices since Transportation Networking Entity companies are a national problem.

 

According to Chris Minnick, an expert in web development, web marketing, web publishing and search engine algorithm technology, the World Wide Web is around since 1990, when Tim Berners-Lee created HTTP and HTML as a way for academics to write and share documents using hypertext.

 

 US Government Accountability Office (GAO) in its July 2003 report to Congress stated that the airline industry was selling ticket online since the mid-1990s. Between 1999 and 2002, the percentage of tickets booked on-line, including airline-owned websites and on-line travel agencies, grew from 7 percent to 30 percent.

 

A diagram based on IAB Europe, TNS and Google stated that in the United States roughly 3 out of every 4 travel purchases were made online on 2012.

 

 Airlines Reporting Corporation data shows that as of March 2015, e-ticket percentage is at 99.98%, but cash transactions are still at 13.44% in the US.  Sometimes, consumers reserve online and paid in cash at airport counter.

 

From 2000 to 2016, fifteen years already passed since airline companies are using the network in order to get dispatching service and to fly people worldwide, does the airline industry ever request another type of occupational license or for-hire license than an N number?

 

Any piece of legislation that give transportation networking entity companies the rights to skip licensing of any kind, inspection and background check by local government; and allowing freedom over pricing, vehicle to use, territory to pick up passengers while taxi-cabs are strongly prohibited to do the same will be an equal protection violation as well as a violation of the antitrust law. Therefore, should be stricken by any Court of law. Deregulation is the only way to go.  Taxi-cabs have federal statutory rights. State and local jurisdiction law cannot supersede federal law.

 

Where is the telegraph, the telex, the beeper, the Nokia phone, Sprint walkie talkie, Palm Taxi, Palm Pilot and Palm Treo? Do they create another form or mode of transportation for those technologies? During the twentieth century, businessmen from Europe, Asia, Africa and the entire American continent used to telegraph cab companies in the US in order to pre-arrange transportation. Also, we do not know how long app technology will stay on the market. But we know that the cellular phone put beeper technology out of public use in one decade.

 

Although transportation networking entities are operating through an app in order to get dispatching services, almost always, their drivers still must call their assigned customers with their cell phone before they can pick them up, because the outside of their motor vehicles do not display their company’s name, telephone number and any occupational license number or for-hire license number. Those drivers usually ask passengers on the phone what type/color clothes they are wearing.

 

Passengers, on the other hand, must wave their cell phones around 180 degrees and sometimes even 360 degrees in order for the drivers to see them for pick up. If the passenger is in front of a night club or an intersection, it could take five to fifteen minutes after the driver arrives at the location before the driver and passenger can meet up.

 

If more than three or five different passengers demand transportation from the same company, depending on the location, the driver can experience a fight of words (not excluding our most popular street words) when asking the non-assigned passengers to exit the vehicle.

 

Transportation networking entities such as Uber, Lyft, etc. are facing those problems because the outside of their vehicles do not have a company’s logo, name, or telephone number as well as an occupational license number or for-hire license number that people can clearly see. Also, if a passenger’s cell phone battery dies before the driver arrives on scene, passenger and driver may experience great difficulty to meet if the meet up location has many pedestrians and similar motor vehicles as the one assigned by the Transportation Networking Entity Company.

 

 

The federal code does not require any motor vehicles to be painted a specific color like "yellow, blue, green, etc" in order to provide transportation service. It is an equal protection violation for local jurisdiction to require taxi-cabs to be painted a specific color. As such requirement does not apply in other modes of transportation (airline, watercraft, trucking, etc) and businesses. But we know that all businesses that are opened to the public have to display at least a name and a license or permit number, and even a phone number that people can clearly see.  Requiring a motor vehicle to be painted a specific color is not a public and a governmental interest.

 

 Ridesharing definition: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th edition, states that ridesharing is the act or an instance of sharing motor vehicle transportation with another or others, especially among commuters. According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ridesharing is the “partage or sharing of a motor vehicle by passengers in order to reduce vehicle trips, traffic congestion and automobile emissions”.

 

Types of transportation that are considered ridesharing include carpool, vanpool, and transit or public transport. In addition, ridesharing help commuters and passengers to reduce trip cost and fuel expense. Transportation Networking Entity vehicles are NOT ridesharing vehicles because they are operating like taxi-cabs. Secondly, riders or passengers can claim money back if the drivers make them travel with another passenger without their approval. Thirdly, most ridesharing has no compensation or cost involve when it is provided by an employer. Sometimes, it is free of charge or a couple or a very few dollars in order to cover gas cost when it is carpool, vanpool and transit. BUT NOT get charge the way transportation networking entities and taxi-cabs do.

 

Transportation networking entities are not car service. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, car service is:

1- The work performed by a railroad car

2- The supply of cars and subsidiary equipment by one railroad carrier to another or to a shipper

Transportation Networking Entity motor vehicles operate the same way taxis do. They do not work just with an app, also, they pick up passengers on the street like taxi-cab. But, they are not inspected for safety by any governmental entity like taxis, limousines, shuttles, buses, trucks, aircrafts, trains, etc. They set their own price without local government approval. The vehicles are not licensed, nor are the drivers. It is unfair trade practice, destructive competitive practice and equal protection violation (14th amendment rights) and a violation of the antitrust laws.

 

Honorable Members of Congress, we are seeking equal rights and equal protection under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, in the transportation industry (Taxi Cabs).

 

Today, imagine United States of America if:

  1. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Congress did not create the Interstate Highway System on 1956.
  2. President Jimmy Carter and Congress did not deregulate the airlines industry on 1978.
  3. President Jimmy Carter and Congress did not deregulate the trucking industry on 1980.
  4. President Jimmy Carter and Congress did not deregulate the railroad industry on 1980.

Under the umbrella of United States Bill of Rights and the Antitrust Law, Fifth and, Fourteenth Amendments and Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution as well as The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations, we the people of the United States of America seek equal rights in the transportation industry. Therefore, deregulate taxi occupational license currently known as taxi for-hire license or taxi medallion and the entire taxi-cab industry similarly to the airlines, trucking and railroad industries. State and Local government should not be in business of selling taxi occupational licenses or permits for a huge lump sum of money.

 

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 and intrastate tourists, bring better service to consumers, put better and more equipped eight passenger seat hybrid or clean fuel formula vehicles (49 USC Section 13102 (22) on the road with handicap accessibility, several child safety seats all in one for five years old and under, camera, GPS, credit card machine, computerized systems that are capable to record and edit quickly each trip and fare, partition or bullet proof cabine for security with strong automatic lock in all doors in order to guarantee payment in risky areas.

 

As a result, taxi-cab drivers will reach their economic freedom and we will have a stronger national economy. Now then, chauffeurs can work legally for UBER and LYFT. Also, it will guarantee a stronger national economy.

 

 

AATC
American Association For Taxi Cabs
Contact Person: Joseph Francis Bessard
P.O. Box 471751, Miami, Florida 33247-1751
Tel 305-301-2396  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: www.myaatc.org

 

 

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