More taxi cabs - or not?

In 2010, the county council passed a law that allowed the county to add 400 permits for cabs and sell 75 more permits each year until 2016 for $200 each.

A new resolution, CB-3-2011 has recently been proposed that would effectively repeal that law.

In the initial legislation, the council had promised to nearly double the number of cab medallions permits needed to legally own and operate a taxi in the county to 1,489 over the next five years. The county had about 785 licensed cabs when the bill took effect last year, and distributed 254 new medallions to drivers over the winter. The proposal would cancel plans to add new licenses, but would not remove those already added.

The medallions were requested by the Prince George’s County Taxi Workers Alliance, a coalition of independent taxi cab drivers who complained that the limited number of licenses made them pay exorbitant fees to major companies, which own many of the medallions.

Councilman Will Campos (D-Dist. 2) of Hyattsville introduced legislation that would limit cab permits to 1,039 and scrap the plans for the 75 additional permits.

County council woman Mary Lehman (Dist 1) opposes the changes . In an Op-Ed piece to the Washington Post, she writes: “The push for repeal is unwarranted and premature — and it would return Prince George’s to an unfair market that gives cab companies the upper hand and exploits independent drivers.”

The council may vote on the new legislation as early as tomorrow.