Taxicab controversy: Mayor Bill Vidal asks PUC to nix 300 divisive new cabs

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The fight over how many taxicabs to allow in Denver, detailed in the November feature "Mean Streets," took a strange turn in March. After rejecting taxi drivers' application to start Mile High Cab because he said the market was saturated, PUC Judge Paul Gomez green-lit 300 other new Denver cabs, including 150 for Yellow Cab, a powerful local firm that's long said Denver doesn't need more taxis. Now, Mayor Bill Vidal is arguing those cabs shouldn't hit the streets.

While Gomez may have given his blessing to the 300 new taxis, they aren't officially authorized until the three-member Public Utilities Commission considers "exceptions" submitted in response to the ruling. And earlier this month, just such an exception was filed by the mayor's office -- a letter from Vidal on view below urging the PUC not to approve any additional taxis.

But Vidal's reasons for doing so weren't tied to many of the concerns that have come up with Gomez's March ruling. Such as that Mile High Cab representatives first sought approval for their company in 2008, when the rules about starting new companies were considerably more lax, and had to wait nearly two years for Gomez eventual rejection. Or that Gomez, in granting other, later taxi applications, argued each case had to be considered individually, thereby ignoring his own ruling that Denver didn't need any more taxis. Or that Yellow Cab, before it scored additional taxis, had long lobbied against allowing in more cabs, with company spokesperson Ruth Otte telling Westword there is an "over-supply of taxis in the Denver Metro market resulting in a depressive effect on taxi operator earnings and a number of other unintended consequences."

No, Vidal's letter doesn't bring up any of those facts. Instead, the mayor notes that the four existing Denver taxi companies and other stakeholders such as the DIA representatives and hotel operators recently launched a Hotel/Taxi Task Force, which is developing a code of conduct for all Denver taxis. Until that process is complete, Vidal asked the PUC not to add in other issues, "especially one as divisive and explosive as additional taxis."

Vidal's got that right: Adding taxis to this town is as divisive and explosive as it gets. Unfortunately, coming up with a code of conduct may not be enough to quell the problems.

Here's his letter:

Taxi cab applications: Denver Mayor Bill Vidal's letter to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission

More from our Follow That Story archive: "Michael Hancock donations from Metro Taxi payback for opposing Mile High Cab?"

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Alternative Intellect
Alternative Intellect

Hopefully this new "Code of Conduct" will require the drivers to get cleaned up:  thorough daily baths or showers; clean shaven; haircuts' acceptable professional clean apparel and attire; ability to speak and understand English; non-objectionable music and content in the vehicle (such as porn and rap musics); and clean fresh aromatic vehicles, A code of conduct should also be applied to the taxi companies:  24 hour availability of functioning car wash and vacuum (or daily $5 credit for use of any private sector car wash); $25 daily gasoline fuel credit; a committee of several revolving elected senior drivers running the companies and making decisions rather than slackjaw yesteryear bureaucrats; and wi-fi capability in all vehicles at all times in all places as would be expected.  Most importantly, drivers need to be restricted to 10 hour workdays six days a week with one weekend off every three weeks, and free use of vehicles on all holidays and adjacent days such New Years Eve, Christmas Eve, the Friday after Thanksgiving, the Monday after Easter, the day before or after Independence Day, Opening Day, and Halloween.


How about we let the market decide how many taxi cabs are necessary?

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Thoughtful post, Alternative Intellect. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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