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Is it too easy to hail a taxi in Colorado? Do you pay too little? Should the government stifle competition and protect big business? We don't think so either. Email us at MileHighCab@gmail.com

Friday, February 4, 2011

Extra! Extra! Read All About It ...

Another newspaper speaks out for freedom ...

So far, the Colorado Springs Gazette and the Denver Post's Vincent Carroll have sided with State Sen. Ted Harvey and State Rep. Daniel Kagan, endorsing their bill (SB-65) that demands an end to the Public Utilities Commission's aggressive campaign against free and fair competition in the taxi market.

Next up, the Aurora Sentinel, which produced an editorial in support of the bill.

The Sentinel Notes:

"At least two state lawmakers are ready to help protect us from the state agency created to protect us.

State Sen. Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch, and state Rep. Daniel Kagan, D-Englewood, are chief sponsors of Senate Bill 65, which seeks to loosen the death grip the Colorado Public Utilities Commission has on the metro-area taxi industry.

The PUC has for three years worked to snuff an Aurora start-up company, Mile High Cab Company. It seeks to be a cooperative of sorts of 150 cab drivers.

In one of the most ludicrous rulings ever issued in regards to PUC action — and given the wild things the PUC does, that’s really saying something — an administrative law judge denied Mile High Cab’s request to go into business because it would create too much competition for the taxi industry.

“Wow” comes to mind as an initial response to such a curious statement."

Indeed. Wow. Read the rest of this excellent editorial here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Aurora Sentinel

It's still America, folks!

The Aurora Sentinel has been all over the Public Utilities Commission's rush to kill American capitalism and competition. Another great story from journalist Brandon Johansson.

Mile High Cab eyes legislation to ease startup obstacles

AURORA -- Almost three years after they first unveiled plans to launch a new taxi company, the cabbies at Mile High Cab now hope to hit the streets with their 150 blue taxis as early as this summer, the company’s lawyer said.

Tom Russell, the lawyer for the proposed cab startup, said that if a bill introduced this month aimed at making it easier to start a cab company becomes law, Mile High could launch the new company sometime after July 1.

“That’s the hope,” Russell said. “Mile High Cab has been ready to go for a long time.”

The legislation — Senate Bill 11-65 — is being sponsored by Sen. Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch and in the House by Rep. Daniel Kagan, D-Englewood.

Harvey said he is sponsoring the legislation because of the problems Mile High has had with the state’s Public Utilities Commission, which has rejected their application and effectively barred them from entering the market.

Read the full story here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

PUC Under Scrutiny

Lawmakers Demand Answers from the PUC

Think Mile High Cab is alone in facing unusual rulings from the Colorado Public Utilities Commission? Think it's odd that Commissioners are getting travel money from a corporation and a foreign government? Think PUC delays and holdups that block job creation bears further scrutiny? So does the Colorado State Legislature.

In the words of State Senator Scott Renfroe, after learning how Mile High Cab's 150 entrepreneurs have been blocked from freely competitng in Colorado's taxi market, "You hear a story like the taxi story and you just want to get to the bottom of things."

Well said, sir.

The headlines are mounting and lawmakers are hearing more and more cases where the PUC has been actuing ... unusually. Today's Denver Post headline tells the story.

Colorado legislators seek audit of PUC after year of notable decisions

By Mark Jaffe
The Denver Post

An audit of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, which is embroiled in a series of high-profile cases, is being sought by two members of the Legislative Audit Committee.

The request is prompted by disputes over commission actions on energy, taxicab and telecommunication issues, said state Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley.

"We felt it was appropriate to ask for a performance audit of the PUC to see if they are complying with the laws, to get an unbiased source and take this out of the political fray," Renfroe said

and later ....
Representatives for a startup cab company seeking to operate in Denver — Mile High Cab — told the transportation committee Wednesday that the PUC had erected barriers to its entering the market.

The company has been waiting 861 days for a final ruling — more than four times the statutory limit, said Tom Russell, the company's attorney.

"You hear a story like the taxi story and you just want to get to the bottom of things," Renfroe said.

Read the whole story here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Back in the news!

Denver Daily: "PUC Crushing Competition?"

The Denver Daily News gets it, another excellent article by Peter Marcus who took notice of Senator Ted Harvey's efforts to reign in the Colorado Public Utilities Commission's power grab as commissioners continue to block competition in Colorado's taxi cab marketplace, even if that means higher fares for consumers ... the people they are supposed to protect..

And Peter Blake in Face The State also gets in the mix, noting that veteran lobbyists for the big taxi companies are already lining up to protect the profits of the big companies. His insightful take is here.

Marcus writes: A Republican state lawmaker believes state regulators are inhibiting competition by rejecting applications for new cab companies.
Sen. Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch, has introduced legislation that would require the Public Utilities Commission to approve applications for new cab companies if the company can prove that it is operationally and financially fit to provide the service. Exceptions would exist if opponents prove that the public would not be served an advantage by having the new company, or if the new company would be a detriment to the public.
Harvey’s bill comes following a battle between Mile High Cab and the PUC in which the regulatory commission rejected a proposal by the company to open a new cab company in the Denver area ...
Harvey’s bill, however, could give new life to Mile High Cab’s efforts, as well as other cab companies looking to start a new business in the Denver area. Harvey said his Senate Bill 65 is about limiting government control and increasing competition through the free market. 
“Colorado government needs to stop the practice of picking winners and losers in the private sector,” said Harvey. “This bill will create a fair playing field and allow the market to dictate who succeeds and who fails.”
Read the full Denver Daily News story here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lawmaker Says ENOUGH to the PUC!

State Sen. Ted Harvey Takes a (Taxi) Stand ...

This just in! State Senator Ted Harvey has just filed a bill in the Colorado State Senate that would strip the Public Utilities Commission of its arbitrary power to block new jobs and stifle competition in the Colorado Taxi Cab market.

Sen. Harvey's stand against "big government" stomping out small business has been reported in Colorado Senate News here. And also in Westword here. And you can hear the Senator speak about the bill here.

At a hearing Jan. 20, a joint meeting of the State House and Senate Transportation Committees will grill the PUC about its role. Is the PUC in power to protect the people of Colorado, or to protect its friends? Is it there to protect competition, or to stamp out new jobs?

You can find a full copy of the bill here.

By the way, since the independent entrepreneurs of Mile High Cab asked the PUC to review their licensing application ... it's been 860 days. Big government in action.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

When is a gift just a "gift?"

Interesting story from Westword:

Metro Taxi's $10,000 for Hick's inauguration payback for opposing Mile High Cab?

November's "Mean Streets" detailed how politicians with ties to existing taxi companies -- Mayor John Hickenlooper among them -- stymied attempts to start new operations such as Mile High Cab.
Now, Metro Taxi, which opposed Mile High Cab, has donated $10,000 to Hickenlooper's inauguration.
Read the rest here

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Westword article reveals ugly truth of Taxi oligarchy ...

One of the Denver publication Westword's leading writers unleashed a bombshell of an article this week. The cover story "Mean Streets" paints an startlingly stark portrait of the current Denver taxi system, supported by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. Without fair and open competition, taxi companies such as Yellow and Metro are free to abuse drivers, the article reports. Citing an ongoing lawsuit and other legal documents, Warner reveals allegations that taxi company managers not only cheat but also physically beat the drivers who are left with nowhere else to turn.

According to the story: "A total of 21 current and former Yellow Cab drivers, all African immigrants, signed on to (one lawsuit), claiming years of discrimination and abuse. According to the suit, (Yellow vice president Ross) Alexander, as well as Driver Supervisor Michael Rivera and Manager of Driver Operations Wayne Roberson, repeatedly subjected the drivers to verbal attacks, calling them "n----r," "African monkey," "dumb African," "crazy Somali" and "animal."

The article further reports: "Those allegations include claims that Yellow Cab's managers sometimes got physical with the drivers. Roberson reportedly punched a driver in the face, while Rivera shoved one employee in the chest and tried to fight another. Alexander, meanwhile, pushed one African driver over a trash can, swatted another "as if he were a fly," and "punched an African driver until he was unconscious," according to the suit."

So the question remains, why does the Colorado Public Utilities Commission support Yellow and Metro and block a driver-owned cooperative such as Mile High Cab from offering drivers a fair way to earn a living, all while offering customers lower fares and fewer add-on fees? Why is big government against job creation?

"The taxicab companies hired powerful lobbyists," Warner finds. "Denver City Councilman Michael Hancock, for example, was subpoenaed by Metro to testify before the PUC about what he saw as a "saturation of taxis in downtown Denver" — testimony that allowed Russell, in cross-examination, to ask about the $3,250 that Hancock had received from people affiliated with Metro during his last council campaign."

Read the entire article here and prepare to be shocked.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

When is a Lawsuit Like Getting Frisked?

"Smart move, Tom" ...

It was nice to see the smart, funny and on-point political blog Mangy Redbone Hound notice Mile High Cab's fight for free, American-style capitalism in the Denver taxi market. The well-read blog took special notice of Mile High's attorney, Tom Russell, and his quest to call existing cab companies on their claims.

Russell called on the poor-mouthing cab companies to open their books through the legal process of discovery. That would force them to prove that there are too many cabs in Denver (something they probably can't do) ...

The bloggers noted, "Smart move, Tom ... Chances are, the opponents of Mile High’s application don’t want to have their junk groped in public for a reason.  They are probably doing just fine financially, and their protests about “harm to the market” are really about protection from market forces so they can achieve supra-competitive returns on their investment."

In other words, the fatcat cab owners of these huge companies complained, "Don't touch my junk."

Read the entire excellent post here. And stay tuned, big news to come ...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why is Colorado Government Against Jobs?

Didn't see this one coming ...

Down, but not out ... Cut me, Mick!
Voting 2-1 against a group of independent businessmen seeking to start a new Denver taxi company, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission on Nov. 23 slammed the door on new competition and backed existing companies that set higher rates and require drivers to pay up to $900 or more each week just to drive.

Commissioners at an afternoon hearing voted to uphold the ruling of an administrative judge, who earlier this year decided that the drivers of Mile High Cab were competent and had a workable business model, but their entry into the market could hurt the profits of existing cab companies. That would include Denver's largest company, Metro, and another company, Yellow, which is part of a multibillion-dollar French conglomerate, Veolia, that also owns the SuperShuttle airport vans and provides drivers for RTD.

In a time when unemployment is high, PUC Commissioners Matt Baker and James Tarpey voted to block drivers who sought to create 150 new jobs in Denver wtih no government assistance. Chairman Ron Binz stood alone and voted against the measure blocking the judge from reconsidering Mile High Cab's case.

Mile High Cab, is down but not out. Attorney Tom Russell is reviewing the decision, and will help Mile High's Board of Directors decide on the next step in their fight.

Front Page News, Read All About It ...

Denver Daily News all over Mile High Cab story ...

Today's Denver Daily News isn't letting up on the Public Utilities Commission. Once again, the daily paper is all over the story. Reporter Peter Marcus is digging in to why the state of Colorado is blocking investors from creating new jobs and offering consumers lower prices and better service.

It's  a solid story and got top billing in the issue.

Here's some of what Marcus wrote:

Taxi battle still alive?
Drivers looking to open a new company hope for positive PUC appeal
Peter Marcus, DDN Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 

A group of immigrant taxi drivers seeking to open their own company say their appeal is still alive.

The Public Utilities Commission today will reconsider several motions concerning whether Mile High Cab can operate in the Denver metro area.

A proposal by Mile High Cab to open a new company was rejected by an administrative-law judge in August. The judge ruled that the new company would damage existing local cab companies. The group unsuccessfully lobbied the PUC to overturn the ruling.

But PUC commissioners today are expected to consider several motions, including whether to force existing cab companies to provide financial records indicating that they can’t absorb additional competition, according to Tom Russell, an attorney representing the group of drivers.

Russell is curious to see existing companies’ financial records and compare any impacts that may have been felt when Union Taxi was able to open in 2009 as a cooperative. Russell says if the issue is really about competition, then existing cab companies should provide records that indicate that a new company would saturate the market and crush the existing companies ...

... The issue has also been politicized, with several politicians and lobbyists weighing in over the past two years, especially over the last several months. Gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo sided with the cab drivers, while Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper agreed that the new company would damage existing cab companies and saturate the Denver market.

Mile High Cab has now targeted Denver mayoral candidate Michael Hancock who has testified in opposition of the new company. Russell has also shown campaign finance documents that show that Councilman Hancock has accepted campaign contributions from Metro Taxi officials. He expects Hancock to receive similar donations from Metro in the upcoming mayoral election.

Read the entire story at the Denver Daily News, here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Back to the PUC!

Mile High Cab goes back to the commission ...

The commissioners of the PUC are expected to hear arguments at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23, from Mile High Cab and other cab companies as the case winds its way back through the system.

Be there (1560 Broadway, Hearing Room A) and show your support for the drivers of Mile High Cab!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Michael Hancock Repays Metro Taxi

Councilman Michael Hancock is Running for Mayor of Denver ...

But we know Councilman Michael Hancock in another way: As someone who testified on behalf of Metro Taxi, arguing against Mile High Cab ... Councilman Hancock testified, under oath, that there are too many cabs on the street already. His testimony helped Metro Taxi. Funny, because Metro Taxi also helped Councilman Michael Hancock, by donating thousands of dollars to his campaign coffers before Councilman Michael Hancock went to the PUC to testify.

Did money influence Councilman Michael Hancock?

You be the judge. Here's a short film, an animated version of Councilman Michael Hancock's actual testimony at the PUC. This is all taken from the transcripts .... enjoy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Let's Get to Work: All Of Us!

Congratulations to our new Governor!

Congratulations to our new Governor-Elect John Hickenlooper. Mile High Cab has been happy to hear him talking our language: jobs.

The new Governor-in-waiting told Colorado Public Radio that job creation is job one.

Hickenlooper: "The best thing government
can do for business is get out of the way!"
And here's what he said in his victory address:

"The political campaign is over and the business of putting Colorado back to work begins.

"We will implement a jobs plan that starts with economic development at the grass roots level, empowering local communities by starting with their vision of what works best and building on that vision to make Colorado a national center for innovation in every field from agriculture to energy and technology.

"We want every talented person who wants to open a business to think: "Colorado -- that's where the innovative talent is. That's where I want to live. That's where I want to grow my business.""Now, I know from running restaurants that sometimes the best thing government can do for business is get out of the way."

Wow, we couldn't say it better, and we can't wait to work with the new governor. Mile High Cab is ready and waiting to create more than 160 new jobs in the five-county metro Denver area by creating a taxi company where the drivers work for themselves, not some big corporation, creating even more jobs.

The governor's transition team bears up on those words about jobs creation.
It's a bipartisan team that includes former Republican Gov. Bill Owens and former GOP Senate candidate Bob Schaffer.

Just like the Governor-elect, Mile High Cab is honored to have a bipartisan team of political movers behind us, from Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter, his opponent, Republican Ryan Frazier, Sen. Josh Penry (R), Sen. Ted Harvey (R), Sen. Chris Romer (D), Sen. Morgan Carroll (D), and Rep. Spencer Swalm (R).   There's a bipartisan consensus of leaders in Colorado who want to see Mile High Cab get a fair shot to compete in the five-county Metro area market.

Mile High Cab is all about jobs, Governor. We can't wait to work with your new transition team to help get the Public Utilities Commission out of the way of small business and let the bold entrepreneurs of Mile High Cab create new jobs while offering lower fares and better service

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thank YOU Senator Carroll

Another state leader gets it ... 

It's starting to seem like the only state officials who don't support Mile High Cab's bid to create jobs and bring lower fares and better service to consumers is the Administrative Law Judge at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

Senator Morgan Carroll, representing parts of Aurora that include many Mile High Cab drivers and potential customers, sent a letter urging the PUC to get with it and back Colorado citizens instead of big companies. Senator Carroll, a lawyer, carefully reviewed the judge's opinion before writing.  Thanks, Senator.

Here's what she writes:

"Dear Commissioners:

I am writing because I am concerned with a recent decision to deny Mile High Cab's application to operate in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties. I think that the current law would lead toward the approval of Mile High Cab's application -- not its denial.

Denver cab fares remain higher than most of our counterparts in other big cities, in part due to a history of inadequate choice and competition for consumers. Refusing this application indicates a type of protectionism that is not consistent with Colorado law, policies or the best interest of consumers.

Given the importance of maximizing as many affordable transportation options as possible to our residents and tourists, it is my sincere hope that you take the appropriate measures to reconsider this application."

Wow, right on, Senator Carroll.

You can write a letter in support of Mile High Cab, too. Write to Director Doug Dean here.

Morgan Carroll

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Never give up ... never

Mile High Cab back in the news, case sent back to ALJ .... 

An excellent report out by the Aurora Sentinel today, and a great photo of Archie:

Driving in circles: Mile High Cab case goes back to PUC judge

By BRANDON JOHANSSON The Aurora Sentinel

"AURORA -- The fate of proposed taxi startup Mile High Cab is now headed back to the same administrative law judge who rejected the company’s proposal in August.

"A spokesman for the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, which regulates the state’s taxi industry and was hearing Mile High Cab’s appeal, said the commission opted not to make a decision at their hearing last week.

"Instead, the commission said it did not have enough information to determine whether Mile High’s entry would be a detriment to the public interest and sent the case back to the judge.

"The judge is now expected to further study what impact another taxi startup, Union Cab, had on the market when it launched 17 months ago, said Terry Bote, a spokesman for the PUC."

Read the rest here.

The question is, why does the PUC even care if there are enough, too many or not enough cabs on the road? This isn't electricity and natural gas, it's taxis for Heaven's sake. Even airlines are deregulated, and guess what, you can still get a nonstop from Denver to Phoenix (and for less than the price of a taxi from DIA to Highlands Ranch, we might add).

Let the market decide if there are enough cabs.

Friday, October 8, 2010

We Live to Fight Another Day! Courage

PUC sends Mile High Cab bid to operate back to judge

From today's Denver Business Journal:

"The Colorado Public Utilities Commission on Friday sent a Mile High Cab Inc.’s bid to run a taxi service in the Denver area back to an administrative law judge for further consideration.

Mile High Cab wants to operate 150 cabs in the counties of Denver, Adams, Jefferson, Arapahoe and Douglas. It filed a Colorado PUC application to start operations in September 2008."

Read the rest of the story here.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mile High Cab on TV

He gets it, Fox 31's Jon Bowman on the Taxi Fight ...

From the Fox report:

DENVER - The start-up cab company Mile High Cab has been deemed operationally and managerially fit for business by state regulators.

But an administrative law judge for the Public Utilities Commission has denied the company the right to offer cab service at cheaper rates with better coverage, and with no fees for bags or extra passengers.

On Wednesday, more than 150 current and would-be 'hacks' showed up to support the regulators position.

"We just want to have our American Dream," said Edem "Archie" Archibong, Mile High Business Manager. "We want to have competition. That is what this is all about."

Watch the full video ... here

Or just watch it here:


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Huffington Post, Another in Favor of Mile High Cab ...

Mayor Hickenlooper opposes new jobs?

Huffington Post writer Jessica Corry scratches her head. Why is Mayor John Hickenlooper, a man running for governor in a jobs-starved state, opposed to the 150 new jobs Mile High Cab would create?

Hickenlooper, she writes, actually wrote to the PUC in opposition of Mile High Cab's proposal to create jobs and let consumers ride for less. Corry writes:

"The city's biggest taxi market players, Metro and Yellow, greeted Mile High's proposal with lawyers and lobbyists. This atrocity simply could not be left to stand. And they didn't go low end. They enlisted the support of Mayor John Hickenlooper, the same guy now running to be our state's governor and whom proclaims his commitment to eliminating bureaucratic red tape wherever possible.

"While Hickenlooper has inevitably done a lot of good for Denver, as well as the entire state (and I'd vote for him any day over current GOP contender Dan Maes, if that were my only choice), his decision to write to the PUC opposing Mile High makes one wonder.

"The city needs more cabs. The city needs more jobs. Grab a cab from one of the existing companies and you'll hear the same message again and again. Drivers are tired of being forced to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars each month to lease cabs or operate under a cartel system that give them little freedom or opportunity to grow."

Read the entire excellent post here.

Time Out!

Commissioners call a halt, Mile High Ruling delayed ...

Mile High Cab got its day in "court" on Wednesday, Oct. 6, with a two-hour apperance before the full Colorado Public Utilities Commission board. The three-member panel heard summaries from staff of Mile High Cab's exceptions to the administrative law judge's findings in a hearing room packed with Mile High supporters.

But after considering several angles and arguments, the panel agreed to recess to review the legal matters and other issues. Commissioners are scheduled to return, possibly with a ruling, at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 8.

You can follow along live, on the Internet, at the PUC's official site.

Or drop by in person at Hearing Room A, 1560 Broadway, Suite 250, Denver.

Friday, October 1, 2010

PUC To Get an E-A-Rful

State commissioners to hear Mile High Cab case next week ...

Here's the agenda, it's all us! Show up, and show your support!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wait a Minute, Mister Postman ...

Thank you to the DMYR ... 

A big thanks to the Denver Metro Young Republicans for a fun evening and some great conversation. We hope you get the word out that Mile High Cab's situation is the embodiment of the "Big Government is Killing Small Business" discussion.

Some of you asked how you can make a difference. Well, talking with friends and candidates is a great start. And we'd love it if some of you want to tell the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to STOP KILLING COLORADO JOBS.

You can always email PUC Director Doug Dean at Doug.Dean@dora.state.co.us

And some of you said you like to make a bigger impact by doing it old school, with a formal letter mailed to the PUC. For sure, you can do that as well. Write to:

Doug Dean
Public Utilities Commission
1560 Broadway, ste. 250
Denver, CO 80202

Be sure to reference: Mile High Cab, docket number 08A-407CP

Monday, September 27, 2010

Folks, We Got Trouble, Right Here in Mile High City!

We'd never call it "snake oil" ...

So when it came time for an administrative law judge to decide if another Taxi company could make it in the Mile High, he depended in part on experts, or as they are known in professional circles "paid opinion witnesses," who could argue the five-county metro area needed another cab company (a cab company that would charge less and offer better service than the big companies). It just so happens one of those paid opinion witnesses was hired by ... the big cab companies.

People paid to provide testimony? That's crazy talk! Only in Denver, right? Wrong ...

Seems just north of the border in Canada, the same paid opinion witness employed here in Denver to "discover" that we don't need cheaper rides and better service found the same thing in Canada. There, paid opinion witness Ray Mundy relied on 17-year-old data and ignored newer data that conflicted with his beliefs, according to a newspaper account.

At least one person challenged him. David Seymour of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy called out Mr. Mundy in this op-ed in the StarPhoenix newspaper in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Isn't the Internet great? You can track guys like this as they go town to town, offering the same paid opinions for whomever is hiring:

Taxi study needs better evidence


Following is the viewpoint of Seymour, director of the Saskatchewan office of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

This summer Saskatchewan's two largest cities received and digested report by transportation consultant Ray Mundy of the Tennessee Transportation and Logistics Foundation.

Mundy has been busy in Saskatchewan this year, filing 170-page reports on the taxi industries of Regina and Saskatoon, at a cost of $45,000 and $50,000, respectively. Citizens should consider what's not in the reports before they decide whether they got value for money.

Behind any debate on taxi regulations looms the question of whether municipalities should stipulate the number of cabs allowed to operate, and the prices they charge. The alternative is for municipalities to focus on safety and basic driver competence, and then leave the questions of price and numbers up to the marketplace.

This very question was debated by panels of experts at the International Association of Taxi Regulators' annual conference in Chicago this past weekend.

In Mundy's reports, there is no such debate. Like a child who incriminates himself by denying a misdeed even before being accused, the first sections of each report reveal where the inquiry won't be going. They're entitled, Why Regulate Taxis?, and go on to answer the posed question.

Competition serves consumers well in every other private industry, it seems, but taxis are somehow different. Mundy explains how several U.S. cities disastrously removed controls on prices charged and who could enter the industry in the 1980s. On this he is largely correct, and offers several quotes from studies of that period.

Incredibly, the newest study quoted dates to 1993, and the entire report even fails to mention the quite different experiences and research that have come to light in the past 17 years.

Read the rest of the article here.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Light Shines on Aurora

The Aurora Sentinel writes about Mile High Cab ...

What's fare is fair: New cab company decries PUC rejection

The Aurora Sentinel
AURORA | The brightly colored pages of Edem “Archie” Archibong’s appointment book are rarely blank.

Instead, the neon slips of paper the Aurora cab driver totes around fill up with appointments around the clock.

At 1:45 p.m. last Friday, he was set to drive a client to the airport. And at 4 p.m. he was heading back to the airport to pick someone up. And again at 8 p.m. his purple cab would be motoring toward the airport once again.

“This is what my day looks like, I cannot do them all,” the Nigerian immigrant said in an interview last week in front of his Aurora home. “These are people who called for taxis the previous time and nobody showed up, due to bad service.”

Archibong, who has been driving a cab for Freedom Cab for 15 years, has joined with 150 other cab drivers with the hopes of starting a new cab company called Mile High Taxi that he said would tap into those customers who have trouble getting a ride from the current companies.

Read the rest of this excellent article online here

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Airport Hustle: It's Not a Dance

How competition could help ... 

Did you know drivers for Yellow pay Yellow Cab more than $900 a week to drive the cab. They don't make a dime until The Man at Yellow gets his $900. The only way to come up with that kind of scratch, and make a living, is to hustle those big dollar airport rides

And did you know, drivers pay Metro at least $800 a week?

You know what that means? If you aren't downtown, headed to the airport, you're going to have a heck of a time getting a cab. Drivers don't want to turn away the elderly trying to get to a doctor's appointment. Or a single mom without a car trying to get to a grocery store. But they have to. They can't afford to run neighborhood errands. They need those airport rides.

Plenty of cabs if you're in a fancy hotel waiting for a ride to the airport. But just try to get from Five Points to the Safeway to buy groceries for your family.

Mile High Cab would be different. Charging just $250 to drivers for dispatch service and support, drivers could make just the $900 a week that would go to Yellow and still live a middle class lifestyle. That means drivers can accept local fares and work close to home.

Want a Tale from the Files of the PUC? Okay ...

On March 3, 2009, A worker in Mayor John Hickenlooper's office complained to the PUC (and according to the PUC, it wasn't the first time the Mayor's Office had complained about this kind of issue). The report states the Mayor's Office employee tried to catch a cab to take him about five blocks. The cab driver (Metro) refused and told the employee to walk.

Okay, guy probably should've walked. Be good for him. Neither here nor there.

According to the report, the complaintant "says he has heard similar complaints, especially from tourists. He thinks the cab drivers are simply waiting for airport traffic." 

That's not an isolated issue. This happens more than you know.

On Nov. 9, 2009, the PUC received a complaint from a downtown hotel. The hotel said a Yellow Cab driver didn't want to take a passenger on a trip down to Greenwood Village (that's NOT a bad fare, btw). During the ride, the driver complained throughout to the passenger that he was wasting his time on anything BUT a ride to the airport.

The hotel tells the PUC that this kind of airport craving is not isolated. According to the file: "Our taxi line is not an airport only taxi line. We are constantly having issues with taxi drivers at our location that only want to go the airport and are refusing service to our guests for locations other than the airport."

Tell the PUC to let Mile High Cab compete. Give drivers a fair shake, so they can serve you better. Competition would mean Yellow and Metro couldn't push drivers around and force them to hustle for all that extra money. That means better service for you in your neighborhood. Write to PUC Director Doug Dean and tell him to let Mile High Cab into the market.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Strange Things Are Afoot At the DIA ...

The PUC says taxi service is fine at Denver's airport ...

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission says things are all peachy for travelers at Denver International Airport. And, they say, there are plenty of taxis out there already. Adding the lower fares of Mile High Cab would just make things worse for riders.

Let's look at that.

First, things seem to be far from aok at DIA. From Denver's KMGH-TV 7 this week: "Airport manager Kim Day has put DIA operations chief John Kinney on paid "investigatory leave," officials confirmed. It was the second time in less than a year that Day has placed a department head on investigatory leave. DIA officials won't discuss what motivated the suspension."

Won't say? Read the rest of the story here.

And say, remember last year? Those fees taxi drivers pay to the airport for being allowed to provide needed service to passengers (yeah, you pay for that somewhere down the line) were stolen. Embezzled. Vamoosed. Again from Ch. 7: "Denver police are investigating the embezzlement of $170,000 from Denver International Airport taxi fees. A search warrant obtained by 7NEWS shows the scam went undetected for nearly two years. At least 16 cash collections made by DIA Ground Transportation Department workers between November 2007 and late June 2009 vanished en route from that agency to the airport finance department without making it to the bank."

Think the airport could manage its taxi lot a bit better if it could keep track of the money? Read the rest of the story here.

And while the PUC says there are always plenty of cabs waiting to serve you at DIA, maybe that's changed. Maybe someone should reassess. This aerial photo shows the taxi waiting lot from an old photo. Pretty full.  An awful lot of those cabs are ... Yellow. One of the most expensive per-mile companies.

But this photo, taken over the weekend, clearly shows the cupboard is bare. The taxicab holding lot is empty. The airport ran out of cabs on Sunday afternoon.  Were you one of the passengers waiting for the opportunity to pay too much for a ride home? Were you one of the people who wondered, "If the PUC says there are already too many cabs, why can't I get one at the airport?"

Demand better from your government. Tell the PUC you want Mile High Cab's lower fares and better service. And like Southwest Air, remember, "bags fly free," no fee for luggage or additional passengers