Consumer voices sought on proposal to lift cap on city taxicab permits
Public hearing continues on Friday, March 8 at City Hall
Consumer input is being called for as the city’s Public Transportation Review Board continues discussion on Friday (March 8, 2013) related to the proposed city ordinance introduced by Alderman Robert J. Bauman seeking to repeal the city’s cap on issuing new public passenger vehicle permits.
Friday’s hearing will be held at 9 a.m. in room 301-B at City Hall, 200 E. Wells St.
The ordinance – Common Council file #111222 – would also create a more frequent taxicab inspection process, as well as taxi vehicle standards and equipment requirements. The Public Transportation Review Board, chaired by Alderman Bauman, held an initial public hearing on the file at its February 8 meeting.
Alderman Bauman, also chair of the Common Council’s Public Works Committee, said input from consumers is important as the proposal moves through the city’s legislative process. “So far we’ve heard plenty from taxicab owners, permit holders, and others with a direct financial and/or business interest in the matter, but not from the wider public,” he said. “Some of the most insightful information and ideas come from members of the public, and I urge residents to attend Friday’s meeting and to have their voices heard.”
The city passed an ordinance in 1991 that arbitrarily capped the number of public passenger vehicle permits. As a result, there are actually fewer taxis operating in Milwaukee today than 20 years ago. “By lifting the cap and enacting more robust inspection and vehicle equipment standards, we will be allowing the free market to determine the number of taxis that will operate in Milwaukee while insuring the comfort, safety, and cleanliness of those taxis,” Alderman Bauman has said.
The ordinance provides that new and renewal permits issued on or after November 1, 2014, may only be issued to vehicles that, in addition to meeting all other requirements, either meet requirements for handicapped-elderly vehicles or that provide passenger leg room of not less than 55 inches. This leg room requirement is measured from the back of the seat to the back of the seat in front.
In addition, the ordinance also requires that inspections of permitted taxicabs be scheduled and conducted not less than once every calendar quarter. The Department of Public Works would be assigned to conduct all inspections of taxicabs operated by holders of public passenger vehicle permits.
File # 111222 is expected to be scheduled soon for a hearing before the Council’s Public Safety Committee.
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