City commissioners have decided to maintain the cap on the number of taxis allowed to pick up customers in Burbank, despite assertions from one company that its ability to meet service demand was being constrained.
Every three years, the number of permits issued to G&S Transit/City Cab, United Taxi Burbank and Tri-City Cab (which operates as Burbank Yellow and Burbank Checker) dictates the number of cabs allowed to pick up passengers in the city. The permits for G&S and United were set to expire in June, prompting the Traffic Commission on Thursday to take up the matter.
Representatives from G&S and United asked commissioners to renew their permits, citing community involvement, green fleets and an increase in calls for service. G&S requested to keep its 50 permits, but in its application said 10 more were needed to grow revenue.
John Murdock, an attorney representing United, said the additional vehicles would help the company provide better service.
“We need vans; we are at a severe disadvantage competitively,” he said.
Murdock also touched on the economy and the need to get more work.
“If we were hurting and had too many drivers, we wouldn't be asking, Murdock said. “We think the economy has turned and is turning and want to meet that demand.”
Representatives for United made it clear an increase from 20 permits to 30 would allow them to add three vans, two wheelchair-accessible vehicles and five hybrid sedans.
But Terre Hirsch, assistant community development director, said the city had not received any complaints about taxi availability, although concerns had aired about rudeness and short fares.
The commission, which could discuss a flat fare for short trips at a meeting in June, ultimately voted to keep it at 130 permits.
Hirsch suggested commissioners remember the City Council’s desire to have an increasingly green fleet and said all companies with city permits should be held to high customer service standards.
Cab drivers, who are among the first people visitors interact with when arriving at the airport, represent the city, Hirsch said.