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Council passes taxicab ordinance, franchise agreements

Friday, June 5, 2015 by Tyler Whitson

City Council unanimously passed a set of measures Thursday that include revised taxicab regulations and renewed five-year agreements with the three existing franchise agreements. The new regulations create an opportunity for taxicab drivers and their respective franchises to resolve contractual disputes through independent mediation; remove a requirement for drivers to have their chauffeur’s licenses sponsored by franchises, meaning that drivers will be able move freely among franchises; require a taxicab driver to pick up a passenger if that driver is determined to be closest to the passenger through a dispatcher’s GPS; and make issuance of additional permits to franchises contingent upon those franchises meeting certain performance requirements. Council will develop those performance requirements in the near future. The franchise agreements award 50 new permits to each of the existing franchises in the first year of each agreement, ensure that future permit distribution is based on the new performance requirements, remove a cap on the number of permits that franchises can hold and require that franchises have a dispatch system that uses GPS technology. The three existing franchises – Yellow Cab Austin, Lone Star Cab and Austin Cab Company – together hold 756 permits, which will increase to 906 permits.

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