Anchorage Assembly considers ordinance ending taxi regulations
At the Anchorage Assembly Tuesday night, members discussed an ordinance that could possibly put an end to certain regulations on cab and limousine drivers in the local area.
The ordinance was introduced by Assembly Chair Eric Croft in the beginning of March. If passed, it would allow taxi drivers in Anchorage to create their own rates while getting rid of permit fees and other requirements like vehicle safety inspections, drug testing and insurance.
"I mean, we're in a changing environment," Croft said. "You know, with Uber and Lyft and then the state preemption of our regulation of them, the taxi cabs are competing with somebody who's essentially unregulated at the state level and we can't do anything about that. And a lot of the taxi cab owners say that's unfair, so to put them on a level playing field, I purposed deregulating taxis as well."
Croft said it's difficult to watch taxi owners struggle to compete with ride-sharing companies. He says regulations against drivers for services like Uber and Lyft are much less strict than those the municipality enforces on taxi drivers.
"In the past the Anchorage Taxi Workers Alliance probably wouldn't have been for it, but we see it as the only road forward now, because this way we can actually take on Uber and Lyft if we deregulate," Timothy Huit, with the Anchorage Taxi Workers Alliance, said. "We can have a cheaper price and go after them, you know, and compete against them, so that's why we want it and we hope that it passed."
While some in the taxi business are behind the ordinance, others think it will actually end up hurting taxi drivers.
"Yes it does level the playing field in some respects," Kim Pavy, a dispatch manager for Alaska Yellow Dispatch, said. "In other respects it devastates those that worked very hard to come up with the money to invest in these permits and now with this abolishment of Title 11 it will make those investments worth absolutely zero and its going to flood the market."
Assembly members tabled the ordinance for further discussion at their next meeting on April 9.
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