Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Taxi fascism in Santa Monica

Santa Monica, California, authorized an increase of taxis licenced in the city from 250 to 300.  Of course, only five favored companies may operated the cabs.

Behold the central planning genius of the city fathers and mothers, as reported by the Santa Monica Mirror:
City staff had recommended splitting the fifty taxicab increase equally between the five franchises. However, individual Council members suggested different amounts than what was finally agreed upon. Mayor Bloom stated, “Every company is operating under a different model. We haven’t learned enough to judge the economic effect of juggling these numbers will be. There is some merit in treating the locally [based] franchises a little differently.” His motion was the one the Council ultimately agreed upon.
Mayor Pro Tem Gleam Davis was the only “no” vote on the increase. She was disappointed the Council was not “able to award an actual increase in taxicabs to “Taxi, Taxi.”  She was concerned that the growth in revenues would favor all of the companies except Taxi Taxi who would now have to cut back their number of cabs from 65 to 63.
Council member Bobby Shriver disagreed with Davis by pointing out that because franchising limits competition the profitability of every cab will be “greater now that we’ve eliminated two-thirds of their competition.” Looking at the number taxicabs on the street is not the same as looking at profitability.
Prior to the vote, the Council heard from representatives from the taxi franchises. Taxi, Taxi’s Wendy Radwin pointed out that this was the “first time in the city’s history that an entire industry has been regulated.” She argued that Taxi Taxi was smaller than the other cab companies so they needed to be allocated a larger number of cabs.

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