City of Monterey says yes to regional taxi regulation.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
The Monterey Peninsula's fledgling Joint Powers Authority for taxicab regulation gained some heft as the Monterey City Council, which controls the area's richest taxi turf voted four to one to join amid protests by Yellow Cab Company owners and their drivers. The JPA aims to create a competitive taxi market in Monterey and at the airport, and relieve local police deptartments of the responsibility of regulating cabs.
For years, Yellow Cab has been the only company allowed to pick up passengers in Monterey, while Central Coast Cab drivers are the only ones who can wait for fares at airport curbs.
Yellow Cab owners and drivers pleaded with the council to vote down the JPA, arguing that Monterey-Salinas Transit, which would staff the new authority is a competitor that would be privy to the companies' proprietary information. They contended that drivers' fees would rise and their money-making opportunities curtailed. The company also cried foul because airport authorities who depend on a $35,000 annual concession fee from Central Coast will maintain their exclusive arrangement with the company for at least 120 days while it considers other options, keeping the airport closed to other cabs during that time.
Hospitality industry officials argued that the new plan will make it easier for visitors to get cabs, and raise standards of courtesy and cleanliness in the process.
City Councilwoman Nancy Selfridge cast the lone no vote, citing the extra financial burden on already struggling drivers.
The cities of Carmel, Del Rey Oaks, P.G. Sand City, Seaside, and the Monterey Peninsula Airport have all voted to join the new authority. Salinas and Marina will vote later this month, and a vote by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors is planned.