City Transportation Board Revokes License Of All American Taxi Company

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The City Transportation Board voted Thursday to revoke the license of All American Taxi after hearing testimony about fares being charged that are above the city maximum.

The panel also heard witnesses say that the company owned by Randy Van Hooser often put drivers to work who did not yet have their city permit.

Mr. Van Hooser said he made "an honest mistake" in raising the fares, saying he did so after the Transportation Board in May 2011 agreed to make that recommendation to the City Council. He said he never heard that the council did not act on the recommendation.

As a result, inspector Charles Topping said, All American has been charging $28.75 for a 10-minute ride that should cost $23.

Mr. Van Hooser said he did not get any of the extra money, saying it all went to his cab drivers.

Mike Shuford and Brent Matthews were the only ones voting against revoking the license.

Officer Topping noted that the taxi board earlier in 2011, at the request of Mr. Van Hooser, had agreed to raise the maximum fare for a 60-day period. Then it went back to the former rate.

The officer said after All American raised its fares in May 2011 that Mr. Van Hooser had posted hand-made signs in his cabs with the higher rates.

Officer Topping said the rate cards for all taxi companies are supposed to be supplied by the city.

On the issue of unlicensed drivers, Officer Topping said he now requires that the drivers themselves come in and pick up the permits - not the owners.

Officer Topping said he did not know why he did not catch the higher All American fares when he examined the firm's cabs in the annual inspection in February 2012. He said, "I don't know why I did not pick up on that." 

Among the witnesses were two former cab drivers for Mr. Van Hooser who had gone over to rival Tim Duckett, who owns Millenium Taxi and is also on the Transportation Board. Officer Topping said Mr. Duckett passed on several complaints about Mr. Van Hooser.

Manny Rico, City Council member who serves on the Transportation Board, said he did not buy Mr. Van Hooser's story that it was an honest mistake. He said, "Mr. Van Hooser is a businessman. He knows the rules. This isn't his first rodeo."

He added, "This is very serious. He's taken advantage of our poorest people. And he took advantage of our tourists. A taxi driver is often the first people they see."

James Hurst, attorney for All American Taxi, quoted Mr. Duckett as once saying that when taxi drivers raise the price, they actually lose business because word gets around.

Mr. Matthews asked, "If he (Van Hooser) thought the rate went up, why didn't he go to the office (of the inspector) and get a new rate card?"

Attorney Hurst acknowledged, "That's a good point."

He said, "The facts are what they are." 

  


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ABLES, BRANDY L  9621 DAYTON PIKE SODDY DAISY, 37379  Age at Arrest: 39 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County FAILURE TO APPEAR --- ALLMON, MELISSA LYNNE  1608 NORTH CHESTER ROAD HIXSON, 37343  Age at Arrest: 26 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County VIOLATION OF PROBATION ... (click for more)

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Approves Nomination Of Rex Tillerson To Be Secretary Of State With Corker Backing

Senator Bob Corker on Monday joined a majority of committee members in  voting to favorably report the nomination of Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State to the full Senate for consideration.   “I personally have no doubt that Rex Tillerson is well - qualified,” said Senator Corker. “He's managed the world's eighth largest company by revenue with over 75,000 ... (click for more)

Proud Of Chattanooga And The Women's March - And Response (2)

I was very happy to participate in the Women’s March on Chattanooga yesterday afternoon. The diversity and the sheer numbers of women, men and children were incredible. One estimate was at least 3,000. Standing together with all of these like-minded souls was overwhelming and humbling.  I have rarely been so happy and so proud of my town.  One question is, why is ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Puzzling Women

After Rhonda Thurman left the “Enlightment” meeting of the Hamilton Country School Board Saturday afternoon, she must have been catching up on the news when she posted this message on her Facebook page: “I am really trying to understand. I am a woman and I cannot think of one "RIGHT" I do not have. Can someone enlighten me?” Not one person enlightened Rhonda because nobody could ... (click for more)

Big McClendon Curtis Leads Central Past Hixson

Central coach Rick Rogers knew this would be a long season for his Purple Pounder basketball team after his top seven players graduated last year. He’s exactly right, but things are headed in the right direction for Rogers as his team improved to 5-10 overall and 3-6 in District 6-AA with a heart-stopping one-point win at Hixson Monday night. That’s two wins in a row and the ... (click for more)

Father Ryan Rallies To Beat Soddy Daisy

The Soddy Daisy Trojans may have been embarrassed over a lopsided whipping they took at the hands of the Bradley Bears Thursday night in Cleveland, but they came out with fire in their eyes Friday night in a dual meet with Father Ryan. The host Trojans had a seemingly-comfortable 32-22 lead with three matches remaining, but the Purple Irish won all three -- including two with ... (click for more)