Changes Needed For The Taxi Board

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Chattanooga Taxi Board in its current form needs to be changed, if not done away with altogether. The current headline involving the councilmen and a current operator are yet another example of the problem.  

The way the current system works is a person has to have what is called a "privilege" to operate.  A company has to be granted a certain number of privileges in order to operate under  a "Stand" (or company).  The only way to get the number of privileges you need is to go before the board. The board is heavily influenced by the biggest operators in the city who in turn make their recommendations as to the applicant’s rejection or approval. Historically, most applications that have been submitted have also been denied.  While single privileges are sometimes granted, application for enough privileges to operate as a new company have typically also been denied. 

To make matters worse, one needs to know what happens when the board grants a single privilege.  A person who is granted a single privilege has to operate under an established “Stand.”  The large stand owners charge fees for operating under their name.  Thus the large owners are able to protect their market both by controlling (limiting) the number of “Stand” applications and by also by getting fees from the few single privilege operators. This seemingly creates a huge conflict of interest and I can’t help but wonder if it is why the large owners are so protective of the board.

Apply it to another business. Lets say someone meets all the requirements for a license to open a restaurant in our city. After meeting the requirements, a restaurant board - heavily controlled by the largest restaurant owners in the city - denies the licenses because they feel there are already too many restaurants. Making it worse, if one applied the single privilege concept to the food service industry, the large restaurants would only allow the small restaurants to operate with the large restaurants branding and only after the smaller guys paid the large restaurants a fee. If that happened, there would be outrage and law suits galore. This is what happens when anyone in Chattanooga attempts to gain privileges for a "Taxi Stand" in the city of Chattanooga.

The city has every right to come up with standards, fees inspections, whatever it needs to make sure the public is safely transported. What it should not do is be in the business of denying free market competition. It is my feeling that the current board unfairly protects those that are already in business. 

The big taxi stand operators will deny and deflect this criticism saying they are just protecting the customer. This is true but only to the extent that they are indeed protecting someone but not their intended target. Instead they are protecting - with the city's help  - the bottom line for a select group of companies by denying competition. 

James Blevins


Kudos To Sheriff Watson

Thank you for doing what you promised, Sheriff Watson.  And a special thank you to all those that work for you and have "lowered the boom" on crime here in Bradley County. You are the talk of the town; everywhere I went today I could hear your name spoken in very positive ways and it made me proud that I voted.     It's refreshing to have someone in office ... (click for more)

Sacrifice Saturday

I am personally inviting all to Sacrifice Saturday, Nov. 1,  at the 100 block of W. 38th Street.   I know we are all very busy. When Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son, not only was he willing, but his son was willing to be sacrificed. What are we willing to sacrifice today in order for our sons and daughters to live?   We are losing them ... (click for more)

Downtown Chattanooga Apartment Complex Fetches $15 Million

Walnut Commons, the first downtown apartment complex built in many years, sold for $15 million, one of the developers said. John Clark said the initial estimate on the project was $11 million and it wound up costing around $12 million to build. "We're very pleased with the sale," he said. Mr. Clark, along with partners David Hudson and Bob McKenzie, are selling their stock ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Principal Ronald Hughes Named Tennessee's 2014-15 Principal Of The Year

A Hamilton County elementary school principal and an Anderson County supervisor have earned top honors for their work in Tennessee education. Ronald Hughes, principal of Apison Elementary School in Chattanooga, was named Tennessee’s 2014-15 Principal of the Year. He has served as principal at Apison Elementary for the past six years, and spent three decades working in Tennessee ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Soccer Advance to A-AA State Semis

MURFREESBORO - Juniors Sofia Olenchek and Emma Higgins scored two goals each to lead Notre Dame to a 4-0 victory against No.14 Spring Hill here Wednesday night in a TSSAA A-AA State Girls Quarterfinals at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex. The win advances unranked Notre Dame (11-5-4) to the state semis against Jackson Christian Thursday at 5 p.m. EDT. No.6 Jackson Christian ... (click for more)

CCS Soccer Wins 1-0; Advances to State Semis

MURFREESBORO - Freshman striker Olivia Hoffman was in the right place at the right time as her goal in the 26th minute proved to be the match winner as No.25 Chattanooga Christian defeated No. 8 Hume Fogg, 1-0, here Wednesday in a TSSAA A-AA State Girls Soccer Quarterfinal at Richard Siegel Soccer Complex. "The ball bounced off a couple of players and I was able to put it in ... (click for more)