Taxicab Commission Gets New Year Rolling with Reform
After an acrimonious showdown with ridesharing company Uber in the middle of last year, the the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission (MTC) is no longer in the public eye. In many ways, things have changed little since October, when Uber began operating in Saint Louis City and County without the MTC’s sanction. Uber is still running (with a car about 4 minutes away from me at the time of writing), the MTC still objects, and lawsuits continue to move forward.
But while the public’s attention has drifted to other issues, the MTC continues to make changes. For one, in late December, the MTC passed a large revision to the taxicab code. Many of the changes are improvements. For instance, airport taxis can now operate as normal on-call taxis on days with particularly high demand. In addition, taxis up to nine years old can now be entered into service (previous requirements held that number to six). The commission also removed the “nighttime taxi” permit designation, which was itself a bizarre response to an MTC-created taxi supply problem.
Perhaps the most welcome news of all is that on January 4, 2016, the MTC will finally begin accepting applications for new on-call taxi Certificates of Convenience and Necessity (CCNs). As we’ve discussed before, a CCN is necessary to set up a new taxi business in Saint Louis. The MTC unilaterally froze all CCN applications for on-call taxis back in February of 2013, while the body “studied” taxi supply and demand for cabs in Saint Louis. After almost three years, and no study, the moratorium will finally come to an end.
Finally, Lou Hamilton, the controversial chair of the MTC, resigned on December 15, stating as a reason for his resignation that, “There is only so much fun one person can have.” We wish him an uneventful retirement.