Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Legal matters of conducting Taxi Business in General

Should Taxi Drivers and Taxi Companies Be Allowed to Sue Seattle City or City Council?


As an average person who hails the odd taxi now and then in Seattle, you may not be aware of the trouble that has been brewing over recent months (if not, years). It seems the difference between taxicab firms and for-hire drivers in Seattle is not only confusing to many customers, especially those who are not from Seattle but you could be spending more money than you should. This is where the argument lies with taxicabs (or so it would seem).
There are certain rules and regulations that both for hire drivers and taxi drivers must follow but, the biggest complaint is that for-hire drivers are flaunting these rules. As with everything, there are two sides to every story so, let’s start by outlining some of the rules that need to be adhered to and how these are being flaunted.

Taxicab Drivers
· Taxicab drivers have meters which mean they charge a specific amount per mile for the journey you take with them.
· People who drive these cabs must have a background check done to ensure they’re legally allowed to drive and are safe to do so.
· Every driver must hold a license to drive a cab.
· If you need to flag a taxi, it should only stop if the driver is licensed by Seattle City Council to do so.
· Taxicab companies must have a uniformed color scheme for all vehicles.

For-Hire Drivers
· Of course, a license is required.
· For-hire drivers are not metered and can, therefore, charge pretty much what they like.
· Background checks are not always done on for-hire drivers.
· It’s against the rules for a taxi service like this to accept custom when been flagged down in the street.
· For-hire drivers are not allowed to use the words “taxi” or “cab” anywhere on their vehicles.
· The same applies to color schemes; these shouldn’t really mirror the scheme a legal taxi company has.

The Debate
The main problem for drivers who are licensed to drive taxicabs or work for a legal taxi company is the way in which for-hire drivers are conducting their daily business. The biggest issue is the price. Some for-hire drivers are charging prices that cannot be competed with, add to this the fact they flaunt the rules by routinely picking up customers that flag them in the street and you soon start to
understand why tempers are rising. There are also issues with color schemes which can leave a potential customer feeling confused over what type of service they are indeed using.

The question to this article is should legal taxi companies and taxi drivers be allowed to sue Seattle City Council for allowing this type of thing to go on? The answer isn’t an easy one. From a customer’s point of view all you want is to be able to get from A-B safely and at a reasonable price.
However, you have to think about the fact that you may be using an illegal service (unlike for-hire drivers) and you may not be insured if there is an accident. This just adds to the whole mix and could actually become a problem for the average person should it be allowed to continue.
From a taxi driver’s point of view, they are losing business to other drivers that are picking up work using methods that are against the Seattle City Council’s rules. They are also up against problems where for-hire drivers are breaking rules in terms of color schemes and certain forms of advertising that can be confusing to a customer.
From the for-hire drivers point of view they say they are paying the same level of fees to operate their business and competition is such that they have to resort to going against the rules. Of course, they also have to contend with people that are driving unlicensed cabs. A lot of comments have been made about how difficult it is to make a living if you can’t stop when flagged and you’re not allowed to pick up business just by driving around the streets.
So, should taxi drivers and companies be allowed to sue? The answer is probably yes, they should. After all, rules are there for a reason and if they’re ignored the problem will only get worse. However, there could be a long road ahead as Seattle City Council is bound to react at some point with a plan on how they can stop this debate from becoming any more serious on the streets and to avoid a legal battle.


  1. This article could relate to most big cities in USA, including Saint Petersburg.
    Local authorities create certain laws and regulations to govern local taxi businesses, but forget or are unwilling to enforce those laws to the letter.
    In the result, there is whole bunch of gypsy cab companies operating under the radar of Saint Petersburg authorities without tax stickers, authorisations or even proper taxi insurance, those cab companies also employ drivers without Saint Petersburg hack licence.

  2. here is something for local cops and Saint Petersburg City Council to chew on

    Free Beach Ride from Saint Pete Beach,
    these guys operate without proper stickers, insurance and without hack licences and they making pick ups all over the Downtown area these days, including Ferg's, Tropicana, Baywalk
    I say: WTF
    Why I have to spend $3500 a year on taxi insurance, $90 on hack licence + $200 on city taxes, not to mention operating costs like radios, dispatchers, etc, ?
    They claim, they work for tips and that fact alone make them excluded from following a law?...YEAH RIGHT......
    So how the owner of this outfit makes money,,??
    For sure, he doesn't let drivers to use his cars for FREE.

    and as far as I am concerned, if you owner of the car which is used to provide public transportation you should be required by law to carry same kind of insurance as others in the industry.

    some investigation in this matter should be appropriate on city side,
    what do you think?

    1. I think state of Florida should step in and remind Mayor Foster that St. Pete is not wild west

    2. LOL, Foster doesn't care about poor cab drivers in St Pete,- he cares about reach occupants of those downtown condos, he wants to make sure that they will get free rides home after getting wasted at the Trop or in one of local bars.

  3. This is very interesting issue.
    Besides "Free Beach Rides" breaking a law, I saw on couple of occasions "Finish Line Scooter" van picking up people in Downtown of Saint Pete on Friday night.

  4. how to start taxi company in tampa bay?

    1. there are couple of thinks you need to accomplish before you start taxi company in St. Petersburg
      #1 get about 20-30 K in cash
      #2 claim corporate name, eg. Rosa's and Trinkous Independent Taxi Inc.
      #3 buy 3 Crown Victoria's ex-police cars
      #4 paint them in certain color which is unique to the area
      #5 put lettering on them eg. Rosa's Independent Taxi 555-4444-5555
      #6 Install taxi top light, taximeter. radio, etc.
      #7 Try to get dispatching system in place
      #8 Get customers

    2. sorry, I forgot to mention about all the paper work you have to do, like City of Petersburg City taxi taxes, hack licences, etc.

    3. I am not sure if that's the business you want to get into, -there are at least 8-10 cab companies operating in downtown St Petersburg these days.
      Here are the names of them:

      Independent Taxi
      Bats Taxi
      Yellow Cab
      Downtown Taxi
      Grand Cab
      Town Taxi
      County Cab
      Blue Star Taxi
      Pronto Taxi
      AL's Taxi drivers association
      Suburban Taxi
      not to mention
      Tampa's ABC Taxi
      Tampa Yellow Cab
      Tampa United Taxi
      or taxis from Clearwater
      NYC Cab
      City Cab, etc
      City of St Petersburg has to do something about this mess..........

    4. update on new taxi companies on St Petersburg Downtown scene

      I Care Sedans & Cab Co.
      Metro taxi or cab Co.
      and 2 other companies, - I don't remember names

      Taxi business must be booming in downtown..............:) taxi parking spots are all over town

      on top of that we have uber and lyft making pickups in downtown on those longer trips at $1.20 / mile, tip included ........:)

  5. Do I need hack license to drive a taxi in Sarasota fl? thank you

  6. Taxi Drivers Wanted

    Positions Available

    All drivers are independent contractors

    Taxi Drivers: Taxi Drivers operate taxicabs throughout Lee and Collier Counties. We are regulated by the City of Fort Myers and Collier County ordinances. All drivers must obtain either a City of Fort Myers Taxicab Permit, or Collier County Hack License. We offer day and night shifts. Full time and part time positions available. Drivers earn cash daily.

    Airport Drivers: We supply drivers for MBA Airport Transportation, the on-demand taxi service for Southwest Florida International Airport. We also have positions available in our pre-arranged airport pick up fleet, Checker Airport Transportation. Our airport drivers are permitted by the Lee County Port Authority and Collier County. Full time and part time positions available. Drivers earn cash daily.

    Driver Requirements

    Drivers must:

    Be 25 years of age or older
    Have a clean driving record
    Speak English fluently
    Pass a drug test
    Pass a criminal background check
    Present themselves professionally
    Possess good driving skills
    Have good customer service skills
    Be motivated to make money

    Once approved by insurance, drivers undergo a two-part training. This training includes a classroom session and ride along with an experienced driver. Drivers then receive additional training from the Fort Myers Police Department.


  7. how to operate taxi, uber or lyft legally in tampa bay?

  8. do I need taxi permit in lee county ?