Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Change the rules or your rivals will: taxi competition in Nashville

Earlier we blogged about the efforts of Metro City Council to eliminate competition from low price taxi's. This week, a court refused to dismiss a suit challenging the law as anti-competitive.

...the new rules stemming from the Ordinance serve no legitimate public health or safety purpose,” Sharp continued, “and by alleging that the Ordinance was enacted not to protect any such purpose, but rather to protect limousine companies and taxicab companies from competition.”

Score this for Nashville consumers.

12 comments:

  1. It is an outrage that Metro is protected the well-connected from competition. Please. if you are in Nashville contact your council member and demand they repeal the limo price fixing ordinance. Following is a blog post on the topic. For more info visit my blog http://www.adisgruntledrepublican.com/search/label/Limousine%20price%20fixing

    Council Indefinitely Defers Limo Price-fixing Repeal Bill.

    Davette Blalock
    Tonight, ordinance BL2011-49 sponsored by Council member Davette Blalock which would have repealed the limousine price fixing provision of the Metro code, was deferred indefinitely. This followed a mandatory deferral in December. In December a committee had recommended deferral. When a committee recommends deferral a bill must be deferred for one meeting. The next time a bill is before a committee, even if the committee again recommends deferral, deferral is not mandatory.

    The bill had a mixed reception from the various committee's considering it. The powerful Budget and Finance Committee voted 4 in favor, 10 opposed and 1 abstention. The Convention and Tourism committee failed to return a recommendation, voting 2 in favor and 2 opposed. The Public Safety Committee voted 1 in favor, 1 abstention and 4 opposed. The Transportation and Aviation Committee voted 4 in favor and 0 opposed.


    Charlie Tygert
    The Council's leading opponent of the bill was Councilman Charlie Tygert. He argued that all of the parties needed to come together and draw up a comprehensive bill rather than taking a piecemeal approach to amending the current code. He explained that the reason we have the current code provisions was because limo's were acting like taxis and the $45 fee was to distinguish them from taxis. Other opponents of BL2011-49 argued that the current price fixing portion of the code had not been in place long enough to evaluate whether or not it was working and argued that most of the industry supported the current law. They also made a general argument that the current regulations were necessary for public health and safety but never did explain what a $45 minimum fee had to do with health and safety.

    Jacobia Dowell
    A council member with whom I was not previously acquainted but who greatly impressed me, who spoke forcibly in favor to the bill, was District 32 Council Member Jacobia Dowell. She argued that there was a an immediate problem that needed to be addressed and a delay was not fair to those being adversely effected by the current price-fixing provision.

    Mr. Brian McQuiston, Director of the Transportation Licensing Commission, argued that Metro needed to hire an outside consultant to evaluate and advise metro on transportation regulation policy.

    Bill Pridemore
    Councilman Pridemore questioned why we should spend the money on outside consultant when we should be able to figure this out on our own. Pridemore, a former policeman, brought a moment of levity to the deliberations when he said something to the effect, "As a policeman, if I had an encounter with a bad guy, I didn't have the luxury of calling a consultant to ask if I should shoot or not. Don't we have anyone smart enough in Nashville to study this issue?" In committee he ended up voting in favor of the bill.

    Councilman Tygert said the administration wished to have the issue studied by an outside consultant. It was explained that to hire an outside consultant to help study the issue and draft legislation, that Request for Proposals would have to be issued and proposals evaluated. It would be a time consuming process.

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