June 28, 2017

As Uber and Lyft take hold, Columbus considers changing cap on taxi licenses

1987 Chevrolet Caprice New York Taxi Cab
By Joolack (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Tafere Tayachew owns one of the 530 available taxicab licenses in Columbus. As owner of the one-vehicle Sunshine Taxi, he has enjoyed most of his last 25 years driving and meeting new people, secure that the supply of cabs is limited by the number of licenses.

But as taxis compete with app-based ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, Columbus officials are talking about changes to the cap on new taxi licenses. That leaves taxi drivers even more worried.

“With what we have already, we don’t make enough,” Tayachew said. “Now, the owner who has only one car, we’re just barely surviving.”

The topic is expected to be on the June 29 agenda of the city’s Vehicle for Hire Board.
The city first capped licenses in 1989 and has allowed 500 licenses since 1997, with an additional 30 allowed for wheelchair-accessible vehicles.The restriction was first put in place to give the city time to gauge supply and demand and as a safeguard against taxicabs overrunning the city, said Ramona Patts, chairwoman of the Vehicle for Hire Board.Now, cab owners and city officials will have to weigh the transportation needs of a growing Columbus population with a bevy of […]

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