Anchorage to Consider Weakening the City's Taxi Cartel

Assembly members in Anchorage, Alaska are considering legislation that would open the city’s taxi market up to more competition by adding 10 permits a year for the next 10 years. Those permits now cost $150,000 on the secondary market—a steep barrier to entry that current permit holders enjoy.

Residents and policymakers say it's difficult to catch a cab in neighborhoods like Eagle River and Chugiak and that wheelchair-accessible cabs are too scarce. Moreover, there aren't enough cabs to go at closing time, tempting downtown bargoers to drive drunk.

Via the Anchorage Daily News:

If passed, the ordinance could result in the taxi permit owners filing a lawsuit against the city for something close to $20 million for that loss in value, said Jim Brennan, a lawyer and spokesman for the Anchorage Taxicab Permit Owners Association.

But Debbie Ossiander, a former Assembly member who stayed on the project after her term expired, said her interest in making the changes lies with customers of taxicabs, not with the permit owners.

"The long-range goal is to open up the market. I really don't see that we're served by controlling those and limiting those," Ossiander said. "It seems to me, particularly because there is a demand in specific markets, the best way to address that is to allow more."

Opponents of Ossiander's plan have called the rewrite yet another move to "deregulate" the taxi industry. In 2008, Anchorage voters rejected a ballot initiative that would have made permits cheaper and easier to get, with roughly 65 percent voting against the proposal.

It took a ruling from the Alaska Supreme Court to get that initiative on the ballot. Reason covered that story in 2007:

Ryan Kennedy was an undergraduate at the University of Alaska-Anchorage when he learned about the city's cab cartel. His microeconomics professor had intended it to be a simple lesson in fettered markets. Kennedy decided to try to unfetter them. He roped his professor, a few fellow students, and some members of the local Libertarian Party into a coalition he calls Anchorage Citizens for Taxi Reform. The group says any qualified person should be able to get a permit for the $875 application fee. It has collected thousands of signatures to force a vote on the issue.

Current permit owners, many of whom live out of state and lease their rights to cab operators, are not pleased. They say their livelihoods depend on keeping competition to a minimum, and they argue that allowing freer entry would constitute a "taking" because the value of their permits would plummet. "We paid top dollar," one complained to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. For his trouble, Kennedy says he has had his tires slashed and his car windows smashed and been shadowed by "some guy dressed like something out of The Sopranos."

The city initially refused to put the taxi initiative on the ballot, convinced it would have to compensate the permit owners for whatever hit they took when competition increased. Kennedy and his pro bono legal team sued. The state Superior Court bought the permit owners' takings argument, but the Alaska Supreme Court rejected it on appeal.

According to the Anchorage Press, the city has only added 15 permits since 1994, when Assembly members last changed the city's taxi regulations.

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  • Warrren||

    Great. Now they'll have taxis made out of flaming toxins and dead babies roaming around overcharging the helpless folks that live in the city.

    Way to go politicians. Way to go.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Anchorage is one of the few places where taxi regulations make sense. You can't have taxis being driven by untrained, temperamental, unlicensed huskies that don't have their rabies and deworming paperwork in order.

  • Warrren||

    Fuckin' huskies.

  • richards82||

    Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job Ive had. Last Tuesday I bought a gorgeous Lancia Straton from earning $4331 this - 5 weeks past. I began this 7-months ago and right away started to earn at least $69, per-hr. I use this website,,
    http://goo.gl/4z9pn

  • Agammamon||

    Huskies that just look at you with male gaze and sexual agression.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    In 2008, Anchorage voters rejected a ballot initiative that would have made permits cheaper and easier to get, with roughly 65 percent voting against the proposal.

    The education system worked!

  • johnl||

    Wow. What was the pitch to keep cabs expensive and hard to find?

  • Warrren||

    "If there are more cabs, Hitler wins."

  • Paul.||

    Something something wild west something. Vote agin it!

  • Warrren||

    Well, there are a bunch of drunken AmerInds there. They'll believe anything.

  • Paul.||

    They were afraid every terrorist in the western hemisphere would become a taxi driver if they reduced barriers to bidness entry.

  • ||

    Initially I thought the same thing. Then it hit me....the average voter doesnt give a shit about taxi politics. It was probably a rider on something else that people very much wanted.

  • LarryA||

    It would be interesting to know what percentage of people in Anchorage ride cabs. In lots of similar cities I'd guess it would be very low.

  • PapayaSF||

    It's often low because of these barriers to entry. In San Francisco calling a cab is no guarantee because drivers don't want to drive anywhere except the airport.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Maybe the CabCartel spread rumors that all the new cab drivers would be MOOOOOOSLUMZ.

  • Warrren||

    Moose-lums?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Warrren||

    Loved that show.

    Rob Morrow had to go and throw a hissy fit about money or something and just kill that last season.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Quiz Show wasn't such a smash

  • Paul.||

    And where is he now?

  • WomSom||

    Sounds like a pretty solid plan to me dude.

    www.GottenAnon.tk

  • Warrren||

    Finally your virus-laden rickshaw business can get a fair chance.

  • PapayaSF||

    Lacist!

  • Xenocles||

    So we just finished watching the original Star Wars trilogy (via a bootleg version of the remastered special editions that was stripped by hand of all the stupid additions by a fan). Kids are hooked. The oldest asked if there are any Star Wars books. I know there are hundreds, my question is which ones are age-appropriate? We're letting her have the entire Harry Potter series so far, just to provide some context for what that means. I remember reading the movie novelizations and I don't remember anything really wrong with them as far as that goes. Anyone have any EU suggestions?

  • ||

    Considering that Leigh Brackett wrote Empire (which is the best of the three), just point her at Brackett's work and let her have at it. I remember enjoying stuff like The Ginger Star when I was a kid.

  • Warrren||

    Domino's new pan pizza is pretty good. You should give it a try.

  • Ted S.||

    I remember enjoying stuff like The Ginger Star when I was a kid.

    You enjoy gingers? Eeewww.....

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Ginger girls make life worth living.

  • ||

    Had a dozen women. Zero gingers.

    I will die sad.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Not all gingers are created equal.

  • ||

    My ginger ex claimed superiority because he was a "daywalker" and didn't get freckly in the sun.

  • ||

    My 'kissed by fire' wife gets freckles if she doesn't wear SPF 50 with the lights on inside. She has quite a few nasty words for in the bottle redheads but daywalkers seem to get a pass.

  • ||

    My one ginger was semi-autistic and had a brother with full blown Aspergers. Still, I was glad to check that box.

    A friend: "so you fucked a retarded chick?"

  • ||

    I had opportunity to do a pregnant (3 months) married (separated) ginger. I passed. Often wondered if I made the right choice? She was good looking, and it would have made a great story.

  • ||

    Oh, we did do it in the front seat of my car on a tank trail on Ft. Benning while I was in uniform. It wasn't really worth the hassle or the fear of being caught.

  • Warrren||

    I have read maybe ten to fifteeen Expanded Universe books and have not found one that I thought would be inappropriate.

    Of course there are a lot of deaths, the books are action oriented and many, many beings die. Some in some horrendous ways.

    In one book a guy is eaten by a swarm of insects that he was trying to do a business deal with.

  • ||

    You know who else was eaten by insects?

  • Warrren||

    That guy in the Mummy Returns? The black dude in Damnation Alley? A few Russians in Indian Jones and the Crystal Pile of Shit?

  • Warrren||

    *Indiana

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    I'm fond of the Zahn books.

  • Warrren||

    They are good. I also used to have the L. Neil Smith books that starred that Negro fellow what did the lager ads.

    Fun reads, stupidly sold them.

  • Xenocles||

    Thanks, all. Death doesn't seem to be that much of an issue so far. She did want to cover her eyes in some of the fights but I was able to convince her to actually watch. Now she and her brother are playing the characters the way kids do.

    Still playing them, actually, well after bedtime.

  • ||

    Why is there an ad with a Las Vegas showgirl shooting a pistol with the question "Can you shoot as well as she can?".

    I clicked the link. Everybody has off days, but I can outshoot her on my worst. Geez.

    If they are going to sell shooting lessons they should get someone really good to pitch it.

  • ||

    Oh. I went back and watched the whole thing.

    Nevermind.

  • John C. Randolph||

    They say their livelihoods depend on keeping competition to a minimum,

    If their livelihood depends on forcibly prohibiting competition, then fuck them. Customers aren't property.

    -jcr

  • LarryA||

    It's the "the only purpose of a business is to provide jobs for workers" rule.

  • PapayaSF||

    Cartels Mean Prosperity for All!

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    The pursuit of property should not be licensed.

  • Warrren||

    Did you get the proper permit in order to hold that opinion?

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    See! SEE!
    Government does produce. It produces the permits you need to get your business running!

  • Warrren||

    I'm constantly stimulated!

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Looks proper enough to me. I printed it myself.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The Wall Street Journal's "weekend interview" or whatever they call it is a fawning, adulatory tongue bath for Ray Kelly. What a steaming pile of dog shit. Fuck you, Ray Kelly, and fuck you, WSJ editorial board.

  • Paul.||

    Stop and frisk works! People get stopped, they get frisked. What's not to like?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    When did the Discovery Channel come up with this homoerotic version of Survivorman?

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    What show is this? I don't get DC

  • ||

    I'm assuming he is talking about Dual Survivor and I believe it has been around a couple of years now. I've only watched a few random episodes.

  • ||

    It's Dual Survival, and the hippy guy is annoying as hell.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    The wisdom of Gary Busey will carry us all.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

  • ||

    GO KINGS GO!

  • ||

    Never saw anyone get so excited over golf.

  • Robert||

    When are they going to wise up and adopt the reform that is politically feasible, dividing the medallion owners against each other, by awarding another (or 2) medallion to each medallion holder for each medallion they already hold?

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