A Los Angeles City Council committee Monday recommended revoking the operating permit for a taxi company serving the San Fernando Valley and called for an alternative transportation plan for local residents.
Babaeian Transportation Co., parent company of the San Fernando Valley Checker Cab Co., should lose its license because the company failed to provide state-of-the-art services as promised, said Councilman Nate Holden, chairman of the council’s transportation committee.
Babaeian, which filed for bankruptcy late last week, failed to install a computerized dispatching system or provide seven wheelchair-accessible cabs as expected under its 1992 franchise agreement with the city, officials said.
“It’s gone,” Holden said of Babaeian’s operating permit.
The full council is expected to vote on the committee recommendation within several weeks, he said.
Meanwhile, Holden said, city transportation officials should be developing a new plan to ensure Valley residents are not left struggling with their transportation needs. Babaeian is one of two taxi companies operating in the Valley, but its services are expected to be short-lived, he said.
“I don’t see any plan in place that is going to be responsive to the need there,” Holden said. “They need more service in the Valley.”
The United Independent Taxi Drivers, which serves the central region of the city, has been providing services locally while Babaeian tries to resolve its problems.
It is yet to be determined what steps the city may take, such as requesting bids from other taxi companies citywide, before permitting another firm to provide services in the Valley, officials said.
The city’s Transportation Commission in June recommended that Babaeian’s permit be revoked, but promised to wait at least 30 days before sending its recommendation to the City Council in order to give the company time to settle its debts with creditors.
That recommendation followed a June, 1993, inspection in which transportation officials found that the company had failed to meet its franchise promises.
The finding was disappointing to city officials since Babaeian won the right to operate 85 cabs in the Valley after a tough bidding process in 1992 that included opposition from Valley Cab Co., which had been the region’s only taxi company for eight years.
Neil C. Evans, a lawyer representing Babaeian, said Monday the company filed for bankruptcy because it owes creditors a total of more than $1 million. The company plans to stay in the taxi business and continue operating in the city for as long as possible, he said.
“They needed relief from creditors in order to reorganize the business,” Evans said. “They will continue unless and until the city revokes.”