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Permanent Status Sought for Hail-a-Taxi

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, April 20, 2010, at 01:42PM
Taxi_1 Ed Fuentes

Councilwoman Jan Perry gets in a cab during a July 31, 2008, kickoff for the Hail-a-Taxi program.

While the nearly two-year old Hail-a-Taxi program could hardly be accused of transforming Downtown's transportation landscape, it did push Los Angeles one step closer to acting like a real city. Councilwoman Jan Perry, who helped push the program as a six-month pilot project in 2008, now wants to see the rules become permanent.

Launched with fanfare on July 31, 2008, Hail-a-Taxi attempted to change Los Angeles' cab culture by allowing taxis to pick people up and drop them off in no parking zones without the fear of a ticket. Uptake was slow, with a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem presented: the cabs weren't circling because people weren't out hailing, but how could people expect to hail when the cabs weren't there?

Still, the rules have worked, Perry says in a motion filed last week. "Drivers noticed that there is a relatively modest increase in customers flagging down taxis," she reports, "which may indicate that the public is becoming more aware of the street hail transportation option." Feared traffic impacts from stopping cabs have also failed to materialize.

Perry's motion calls for the Hail-a-Taxi program -- which officially, and quietly, expired at the end of January -- to be immediately extended on a temporary basis and that the Department of Transportation work with the City Attorney to make it permanent.


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