Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Friday, September 29, 2006

taxi cap

In last Wednesday's PS&RS committee, I voted in favor of an ordinance change to gradually take away the artificial cap on the number of taxi licenses granted in Minneapolis.

Here is my main reason for doing so: I believe that gradually lifting the cap on taxi licenses in Minneapolis will be good for taxi drivers (present and future), customers and the city at large, in the long term.

I also believe that this will make the taxi industry similar to other industries, in terms of City regulation. We put all sorts of restrictions and regulations on bars, restaurants, coffee shops, rental housing, etc. What we don't do in any other industry is regulate the number of people who can participate. I think this is a question of basic economic fairness and justice: if I want to start a coffee shop, it doesn't matter how many other coffee shops already exist. If I want to drive a cab, I have to convince someone else (a competitor) to sell me a license for $20,000.

I understand that many of the current license holders are concerned about losing income and the investment of more than $20,000 that the artificial cap has forced them to make. I am sensitive to those concerns, and I will be watching to see if they are borne out over the next few years. I will work to explore what support the City can provide to current drivers to ease this transition.

I supported Council President Johnson’s proposal to create a task force on taxi policy. I believe that such a group should include policymakers, City staff, people currently working in the Minneapolis taxi industry and also people not currently working in the Minneapolis taxi industry.

During the committee I highlighted three things in particular that I thought the task force should focus on:
- Ending the prohibition on Minneapolis Licensed cabs from also being licensed in the suburbs.
- Exploring how to mitigate the hardship that phasing out the cap will place on current holders of licenses, and
- Examining further the recommendations of the Minneapolis Advisory Committee on People with Disabilities regarding wheelchair accessible cab service.

I also believe that increasing the level and quality of taxi service in Minneapolis is one step towards crafting the multimodal transportation system ecological wisdom require and our recenbtly passed Sustainability Indicators call for. With the reforms we will put new incentives for both more accessible and more fuel efficient vehicle. I think it's important to note one move the committee took yesterday in particular: ALL new cab licenses must go to fuel efficient vehicles and existing companies must increase their percentage of fuel efficient vehicles by 10% every year until 2016, when 100% must be fuel efficient. This is a big deal. Now we still have a little more work to do on this. We need to make sure that we define "fuel efficient" in the right way.

I am facing some legitimate criticism on this vote, some of it within the Green Party. I want to be clear that I believe Green principles demand that this cap be lifted. It is the socially and economically just thing to do. It is the only way to begin to economically decentralize the taxi industry in Minneapolis - allowing more people more economic power and choice.


At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Scott Schumacher said...

Ok.. I can't stand it anymore...
I'm PLEADING with you. Could you please spell out these acronyms and abbrvieations that you place in every posting at least once at the begining of a post? I know it's a pain, but for us average citizens, we just don't know all of them....

IRV (this was actually Instant Runoff Voting)
etc, etc...

At 3:19 PM, Blogger Robin Garwood said...


Yes, we can do that. Sorry for the jargon. Sometimes it's all too easy to forget that not everyone talks the way that everyone in City Hall talks.

For the record:

PS&RS = Public Safety & Regulatory Services committee

IRV = Instant Runoff Voting

CRA = Civilian Police Review Authority

ETC = Esoteric Terminology Confuses

At 4:37 AM, Anonymous d knox said...

The cost of a highbred cab? 6 years or newer to be legal? .that is wheelchair accessible.? In MN where you will pay the highest commercial insurance in the nation? In a city infested with pirate cabs? and set to compete with towncars and limos that bribe and vulturize all the hotels? where Super shuttles were allowed to come in under the name shuttle act as jetneys?(WHich by the way is a violation of Mn Law)? In a city where there is not enough business left for the cabs on the street now! Look At How much the cost would be and who could afford to do That Las vegas highrollers, organized crime those who need a laundry mat.Noone willinvest Unless that investor has an inside man prepared to give business to those new cars there is no way to sustain them they will be in line at the hotels and crawling 1st ave on the weekend and


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