The Governor’s veto of AB 650 provides an opportunity for affected stakeholders to take a more thorough and thoughtful approach to addressing the issues facing the for-hire transportation industry.
The Legislature approved AB 650 in the final hours of the legislative session without any meaningful input from the public and affected stakeholders in a veiled attempt to level the playing field between the taxicab and transportation network company industries. Instead of taking concrete measures to actually bring both industries under a similar regulatory structure, the final version of the bill simply froze a city or county’s ability to properly administer taxicab regulations.
If the bill had been signed, cities and counties would have no longer been able to:
- Impose any new service charges, fees, or assessments on taxicab transportation services even if taxicab companies are newly introduced into those jurisdictions;
- Impose fees for taxi driver permits in excess of $75 in perpetuity, regardless of inflation, with no consideration of existing constitutional restrictions on permit fees or the real cost for taxi program administration; and
- Impose any additional regulations to help ensure adequate levels of service to all areas within the jurisdiction for individuals covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, such as expansion or adoption of an ordinance similar to Los Angeles’ requirement that 10 percent of its taxi fleet must be wheelchair accessible.
Cities throughout the state have been responsive to the challenges of the taxi industry by easing restrictions or creating uniform regulations. From waiving registration fees, to consolidating taxicab regulation to a regional entity, cities have been proactively trying to assist in addressing those challenges, while upholding proper safety measures.