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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

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