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


Mike Carter Fights The Tough Fight

Mike Carter is an outstanding legislator, and deserves re-election to the State house.  Rep. Carter is hard-working and has a proven track record of getting things done to better the lives of those he represents.  I encourage my friends and colleagues to join me in voting for Mike Carter in his re-election bid to represent the 29th District.  Rep. Carter knows ... (click for more)

Give Bullet-Proof Vests To Every Black Youth In The City - And Response (2)

I heard a report that the Chattanooga police were being given better bullet-proof vests, and I had an idea. What if Chattanooga became known for something besides electric buses and fast internet service? What if Chattanooga provided a bullet-proof vest to every young black man and black youth in the city limits?   I can hear the scoffing as I write, but think about it. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Whiskey Company To Construct Large Distillery At Former Site Of Newton Chevrolet

The Chattanooga Whiskey Company has begun construction on a larger production distillery in the former Newton Chevrolet property at the corner of MLK Boulevard and Riverfront Parkway near the Tennessee River. Once fully operational, the Riverfront Parkway facility will be capable of producing upwards of 14 (53-gallon) barrels per day, making it one of the largest craft bourbon ... (click for more)

Beck Upset By Criticism Of Late WWTA Director Cleveland Grimes In WWTA Analysis; Boyd Won't Rewrite 57-Page Report

County Commissioner Greg Beck said it was inappropriate for fellow Commissioner Tim Boyd to include articles critical of the late Cleveland Grimes in a 57-page report on the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority. He said, "Criticizing a dead man - I don't know if that's appropriate. If that's Christianity, let me off the wagon." Saying the report should ... (click for more)

Williams Hired To Lead Restart Of Owls Boys' Basketball

Jay Williams has been hired as Ooltewah’s head boys’ basketball coach, a program rocked by a rape scandal last December that eventually led Hamilton County School officials to disband the varsity team and cancel more than half its schedule. Williams, who has strong ties to Ooltewah High School, previously coached at LaFayette School and Northwest Whitfield high schools in Northwest ... (click for more)

TSSAA Sets Future Division I, Division II Classifications

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Board of Control has released the minutes from Wednesday’s meeting in Hermitage pertaining to football classification period for the 2017-18 and run through 2020-2021 1.  Roll Call 2.  Division I and Division II Classification The Board of Control voted the following for the classification period that ... (click for more)