Some Dallas Council Members Want to Keep Protecting Yellow Cab from the Free Market

YellowCabsFlickr.jpg
Jack Keene
Dallas City Hall has come a long way over the past 10 months. Last year, it was trying to chase Uber out of town with vice stings and surreptitious regulations. Now, it's put forth some generally sensible recommendations to streamline the governing of the "transportation for hire" industry and put all its players -- Yellow Cab, Uber, limos, shuttle companies and "ride share" services -- on equal regulatory footing.

The proposed changes are still subject to three months or so of tweaking by the City Council, and there will naturally be some differences of opinion, but certainly everyone can agree that the most blatantly arbitrary and anti-competitive elements of current law -- the ones setting an age limit and minimum purchase price on vehicles or giving natural-gas cabs front-of-the-line privileges at Love Field -- should be scrapped.

But this is Dallas, where Yellow Cab's tentacles still run deep. Multiple council members expressed reluctance during a hearing on Tuesday to cede control of such matters to the free market.

Tennell Atkins, for one, had trouble accepting the notion that, under the new rules, any vehicle that met the city-mandated inspection and had the proper insurance would be allowed to operate.

"You could have a car with 500,000, one million miles, and it's still considered a good car?" he asked assistant city attorney John Rogers.

Yes. And a Toyota Camry, which costs considerably less than the $45,000 minimum purchase price mandated by the city, could parade around as a limo.

"A Toyota Camry is a limo?" Atkins interjected.

No, but the new rules would eliminate the distinctions between taxis and limos, which Uber in particular has blurred.

Atkins, who was on the council when the age limits were passed, said the issue at the time was simple: "When people come in the city of Dallas, people want to be in a nice car." What changed?

Vonciel Hill followed up by going through the proposed changes one by one and expressing displeasure with those that might upset the status quo.

"I have no interest in deleting the head-of-line provision [for natural gas cabs]," she said. That rule provided a huge advantage for the companies (i.e. Yellow Cab and its corporate cousins) that could afford natural gas cabs and could thus enjoy a near-monopoly on Love Field traffic. "I think head-of-line prov encourages vehicles to help with our air quality. That's what that's about and I want to encourage that.

"I do not have an interest in eliminating age requirements or dollar-value requirements," she continued. "I do not want old cars to pick up people at DFW airport."

She's ambivalent about the proposal to stop regulating the color of cars.

"I think that we as a council would want to talk about that. Bringing international visitors in, we may not want purple cars. On slide -- did I hear someone laughing over there?" She paused looked around, then offered that her own personal color of choice is black. "I think black is a good-looking color, whether you put it on cars or people. It's just a wonderful color."

All of which seemed designed to underscore Philip Kingston's oft-repeated point that the city has had a historical tendency to regulate without any compelling need to do so.

The city can create a "vibrant transportation market by simply backing off, doing some very basic licensing and providing a very robust insurance requirement." Then, "let the chips fall where they may."

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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63 comments
noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

Once again, the best city council money can buy is apparently siding with Yellow Cab, their benefactor, instead of with the free market and consumer choices. 



schermbeck
schermbeck

I guess Ms. Hill forgot about her long-standing commitment to air quality when she voted for the awful Trinity East permits last year.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

Atty. John Barr is an excellent lawyer, and is fairly compensated handsomely for his services and advice.  But, there's much more at stake here than what's good for Yellow Cab, a company apparently unafraid of crossing lines of decency, law, and the free market system. 

Yellow Cab has already damaged its franchise and brand a number of times in this city.  One might suggest this is not a good time to double-down invested in unfair competition, insider deals, and fewer market choices - especially when Dallas is trying to attract the Republican National Convention.

Dallas, Texas, has always been one of the true capitals of the Free Enterprise System, the Right To Work, free and open markets, and high mercantile and trade performance and standards.  It should remain that way in the interest of ALL its citizens and its reputation. 

halldecker
halldecker

John Barr,  lawyer for Yellow,  the brains behind the outfit,  understands power,  working the system,  getting what the client wants.  He's one of the best I've ever seen.

Whether you think that's good or bad,  and after 40+ years,  I think it's business-as-usual with the City,  you have to admit,  he's been incredibly successful.

The Economic Theories of Miss Billie Holliday should always be kept in mind:  "Them that's got,  shall get,  them that don't shall lose ......"

Al the Lip (Lipscomb)  was convicted in Federal Court (in the Panhandle,  unfortunately,  Appeals Court ruled it shouldn't have been tried there,  threw out the conviction, ) in part for taking money and cab rides from Yellow.  That's how little it took to get a guaranteed vote from the Council.  Faced with a jury verdict that Yellow had bribed Councilman Lip,  guess what the City did.





lankyw
lankyw

Well,  Yellow Cab Drivers still treat people like crap. Quit fighting with you pick-up. Take Credit cards, And Clean your cab.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

How does nat gas priority affect Uber?  That requirement only affects cabs that wait in airport queues.


Wasn't evidence presented that the city was not enforcing any of the previous regulations except collecting the fees?  That is the real reason to junk the regs.  Forget about Uber. 

lebowski300
lebowski300

Now that was a good article. Facts. Information. Direct quotes. Cohesiveness. Thank you.

lakewoodhobo
lakewoodhobo

I cannot stand that woman. Purple cars? Black cars? WTF!!!!!? Who cares?

pnd2131
pnd2131

Yellow Cab has done this to themselves and I have no sympathy for them. If they want to be competitive here are a few suggestions:

1) Have correct change and don't look at me like I'm an asshole for wanting change.

2) Accept credit cards without me having to fight, beg and plead for it. It's 2014 and not accepting credit cards is absolutely ridiculous. Knowing full well that you have the capability to accept a credit card and making me have to beg you to use it is even more ridiculous.  

3) When I want a cab at my place at 7pm make sure there is a cab at my place at 7pm. Yellow Cab usually will either tell you No or show up anytime they feel like it after 7pm.

4) Don't drive like a bat out of hell. Every cab driver I use will blow through traffic like they are fleeing a tornado. This isn't a third world country and you no longer have to drive like you are in one.

5) Lower the cab fares! 20 cents for each additional 1/9 of a mile? Who the hell thinks that even comes close to a rational thought? $2 for each additional passenger?


Until you do this I will use Uber and only use Uber.

neighthun
neighthun

After taking Uber, I don't want to take a regular cab EVER AGAIN!

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

When Vonciel Adams said that black looks good on people she could have been talking about clothing, you know.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Boycott the Greedy Big $$ Taxi Cartels!


Support your Local Private Independent Ride Sharing Service!



Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Interesting note: Uber drivers in NYC have a median annual compensation of $90K.

Tipster1908
Tipster1908

No matter what Mike Rawlings accomplishes as mayor, I will consider him a failure for having made Vonciel Hill the Trinity and Transportation committee chair. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

" "I think black is a good-looking color, whether you put it on cars or people."  Racist as fuck.  She got a problem with white, also, what wrong with purple (NOT PURPLE?)  Also, what's wrong with a Toyota Camry?  Just another reason why they are moving to Plano.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@pnd2131


All points are spot on....don't be stuck in the past. Nothing worse than paying good money for a ride, while sitting next to a dried pile of puke. 

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

@pnd2131 When you are paying by the mile and not for their time, expect them to drive like a bat out of hell. Every little extra minute they spend driving you is that much less money in their pockets.

Lakewooder
Lakewooder

C'mon Myrna, this isn't your first rodeo.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@Darren Climate change has led to the tragic demise of puffin chicks on the NE coast.  Hake and herring are disappearing.  The delicious fish have become scarce and the parent puffins must rely on butterfish to feed their young.  The problem is that butterfish are too big for the chicks to swallow.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz with surge pricing and the way traffic in NYC is, its no wonder.  I remember reading about people paying over $100 to go 2 miles.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

@Tipster1908 The mayor knew exactly what he wanted and went about it by appointing  the person who was right for the JOB he wanted done .


leftocenter
leftocenter

@ScottsMerkin

I got no love for her, but lighten up Francis! 

It was a quip.  No big deal.  And black is a traditional limo color.  There's plenty of real racism on all sides without jumping on that.

WatchingSouthDetroit
WatchingSouthDetroit

Does she realize how hot a black car in July-August will be?  Does anyone think visitors want to go into a hot, black car in July and August?  Is she that stupid?

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin

"I think white is a wonderful color, whether you put it on cars or people."

Yeah, I'm guessing that wouldn't fly in a council meeting.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@Tim.Covington  Cowboy Cab is the only company I use, and I've tried lots of them.  Cowboy is not cheap, like the other cabs, but they have much better service and are infinitely cleaner and safer.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  Wow!  Before the evil conservative politicians every species of plant, fish and animal lived on forever.  Nothing EVER went extinct before President Bush.  It is all his fault!

pak152
pak152

@ScottsMerkin @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz as demand goes up the price goes up. market economics at work. the story you are referring to involved severe weather problems
http://gothamist.com/2013/12/16/uber_surge_pricing.php

Cab drivers weren't going out in the bad weather. by using surge pricing uber was able to encourage drivers to venture forth. The question is "how much are you willing to pay to get home in extreme weather conditions?" how much is a driver willing to accept to drive over and pick you up in the same weather?

Tipster1908
Tipster1908

@oakclifftownie Of course it was intentional. Hill has a toxic blend of character traits that make her perfect for the post (in the eyes of the DCC and therefore Rawlings). More than anyone she loves the quid pro quo of the existing system that makes her consider her district her own fiefdom. Combine that with an obsession with affinity for the power brokers, a heaping dose of arrogance, and a fundamental daftness for what is really going on and how transparent she is, and you've got her down. I'd honestly rather that Davis chair the committee. She's too dumb to stick to the official party line without veering off-message and letting slip some of the details of who is really driving the bus.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@leftocenter my name is not Francis, its Scott, actually, Scott is a fake name too, oh well, carry on

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@WatchingSouthDetroit nope, Also, I really dont care about the color of the car, I just want the mofo driving to take the shortest route home.  Once a cabbie tried to take me down 183 when I the address I gave him was a Plano address.  I had to tell him to take 635 to the tollway after he I realized he was taking the south exit of the airport. 

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

Cowboy is who I always used. And I didn't think they were that pricey. And they were always on time.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@MaxNoDifference @TheCredibleHulk @PlanoDave @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz

Comics.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  It is customary in polite conversation to acknowledge comprehension of the topic to the speaker, thus the popular "know what I'm sayin'?"  Absent such acknowledgement, ignorance must be assumed.


PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  Since you missed the point of my sarcasm, I will spell it out for you.  Species have been dying off since the beginning of time.  The only difference is now there are people who think those plants, birds, fish and animals are cute and want them to stay around.

Darwin and Hobbs (not related to Calvin and Hobbs) were right.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

@Tipster1908 @oakclifftownie "a heaping dose of arrogance, and a fundamental daftness for what is really going on "

Her twin is my  regional manager.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay well because most stories here are in a negative light, not just mine, but most people who comment will tell a story related to the topic they experienced.  If something good was written,Id tell my happy stories.  

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @ScottsMerkin So you'd be cool with paying triple what you should for your cab ride home?  Okay.  Tell me, does it suck to live a boring miserable life commenting on other peoples life experiences since you seem to have none?

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