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Council Unanimously Approves Hail-a-Taxi

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, July 16, 2008, at 12:10PM
Passing Fares Ed Fuentes

A cab waits at a Bunker Hill taxi stand in this May file photo.

City Council today unanimously approved the Hail-a-Taxi pilot program for Downtown and Hollywood. The program will give cab drivers much greater flexibility in where they can stop to load and unload passengers. Program backers hope that this will encourage cab drivers to roam the neighborhood looking for fares instead of congregating at a limited number of stands.

Councilwoman Jan Perry authored today's motion, and her office has been responsible for leading the effort to bring the program into being. Today at Council she talked of how cabs were integrated into the transportation system of other major cities. "Los Angeles, a major, global, world-class city, should not be an exception," she said. In a press release put out by her office, Perry said that "Hailing a cab is the natural next step in the evolution of Downtown."

The release credits the push for expanded taxi access to the Downtown Center BID's Hal Bastian. DCBID head Carol Schatz was in attendance at the meeting.

A number of Councilmembers spoke in support of the motion, including Councilman Jose Huizar. Huizar spoke of how cabs would help Downtown residents, telling how he visited the Downtown Art Walk last week and could see cabs fitting into the transportation option for that event.

The original proposal unveiled in April did not survive entirely unscathed. In order to placate Metro, the program will not allow cabs to stop in bus zones. Stencils will be painted on red curbs to denote which are bus zones vs which are simply No Stopping zones and eligible for use. Council President Eric Garcetti was excited for the program, but not pleased with the change. "I do have my doubts about whether it can succeed without bus zones," he said.

A representative from DOT indicated that the department hoped to have the program up and running as quickly as possible. Once the passed motion receives the Mayor's approval, the pilot could be up and running in as little as a week.

Editor's note: We also spoke to a cab driver at the meeting, and will be running his thoughts on the program later in the day.

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