Tuesday, February 23, 2016

NashVegas Cab Asks Metro for the right to grow. They are the only taxi company using 100% of their issued permits.

Press Release - On February 25, 2016, Nashville-based NashVegas Cab will be on hand, once again, asking Director Billy Fields and the members of the Metro Transportation Licensing Commission to lift the stay on enforcement of Rule #3 and issue to them any unfilled permits currently held by the other taxi companies. During the annual meeting held last month, the board had the opportunity to issue more permits to NashVegas, but instead delayed action on the issuance of new permits. The delay has spurred some taxi companies into offering temporary weekly fee or “lick”reductions, in an attempt to fill their currently unfilled permits. Why didn’t these companies lower their fees before? The lick trick shouldn’t fly with our TLC! 

“We ask that the TLC enforce all of its rules and award our company with additional permits,” said Solomon Tadele, President of NashVegas Cab. Studies generated by the Convention and Visitors Bureau show that as our city continues to grow, the demand for safe, affordable, and dependable transportation also continues to grow.  NashVegas wants to continue to meet that demand! The issuance of additional permits to NashVegasCab helps them hire more local drivers from all parts of the world who have established citizenship. Furthermore, additional permits helps NashVegas support their families and support our local tax base. NashVegas stands apart from their rideshare competitors who do not contribute to our local tax base.

Tadele further stated, “We are the only company with all of our permits completely filled with happy drivers, but we can’t grow our business and employ new drivers until the TLC decides we can. Please don’t punish us for being successful!” The driver-owners of NashVegas Cab Corporation asks that Mayor Barry, the Metro Council, and the members of the Metro Transportation Licensing Commission enforce the law and its rules and end the current practice of issuing permits to companies unable to fill them. Nashville’s own NashVegas Cab Corporation just completed its second year of providing the utmost in service to visitors and residents of Nashville. In only a short period of time, NashVegas has proven itself as a company willing to provide service to those in underserved communities by establishing a service grid, with cabs strategically placed throughout the city, all accessible by way of the NashVegas Cab app.

My Comment: I adamantly disagree with the statement, "NashVegas stands apart from their rideshare competitors who do not contribute to our local tax base." That is ridiculous! Certainly drivers for Lyft and Uber also contribute to our local tax base. The independent business men and women who drive for rideshare companies also earn money which they spend locally and support their families and support our local tax base. That disagreement with the unnecessary jab at Uber and Lyft aside however, I am 100% in favor of giving NashVegas the permits they need to expand their company and hire more drivers. Simply because other cab companies have permits they are not using is no justification for denying new permits to NashVegas.

The way the taxi cap companies operate is that a taxicab company gets issued a permit for so many caps and pays an annual fee of $255 for each permit. The company then hires  taxi drivers who are forced to pay a weekly fee, called a "lick," of between $200-$350 a week for the right to use a permit issued to the company by the TLC. The taxi driver actually owns his own cab but does not own the permit to operate his cab.

My view is that we should abolish the permit system and let any taxi driver register his cab and operate. Metro should simply get out of the business of controlling the number of cabs permitted to operate and let supply and demand determine the optimum number of cabs needed to serve the community. It is immoral that a cab company owner, who has very little in the way of investment in the company, pays $225 a year for the right to place a cab on the street then charges a driver over $18,000 a year to work as a taxi driver using that $225 permit.

NashVegas is using all of the permits they have been issued and have more drivers who want to go to work for them but cannot put them to work because Metro will not allow the company to expand. That is simply wrong. While I would prefer we totally abolish the permit system, in the meantime, NashVegas should be issued all of the permits they can use.

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