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Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 03/ 8/2011

Prince George's cabbies oppose bill to cut new medallion number

By Miranda S. Spivack

Prince George's independent cab drivers are opposing a bill that would cut in half the number of medallions the council agreed to issue.

A bill introduced Tuesday at the council by council member Will Campos (D-Hyattsville), would reduce from 400 to 200 the number of new medallions the county could issue this year.

Cab drivers have complained that the county is already moving too slowly to issue the new medallions and say they are concerned that Campos' bill would further hamper competition in the cab industry.

Campos said in an interview that the new medallions would "oversaturate" the local market. He voted last year to expand the number when the council unanimously backed a bill introduced by then council-chairman Tom Dernoga (D-Laurel) to increase them. But Campos said this week that the bill was a mistake that he is now asking the new council to rectify.

Campos' measure would also aid cab companies that have largely controlled the cab industry for years in Prince George's. They have sued the county to scuttle last year's law.

By Miranda S. Spivack  | March 8, 2011; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  Miranda Spivack, Prince George's County  
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While it may be admirable to correct past mistakes, just another bill is no substitute for negotiations with all of the involved stakeholders in an attempt to reach a consensus.

Posted by: polecatx1 | March 8, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

The bill proposed by Campos is not an attempt to fix an over-saturated market as he claims, because no such saturation exists.

In fact, the county cannot even begin to measure whether adding new medallions will lead to the saturation Campos attempts to foretell, as the county office responsible for issuing 390 new medallions to individual cabdrivers has failed to do so.

What is more, they have failed to issue the new medallions even though they have known since January precisely who they should be issuing those medallions to.

Is this ordinary incompetence or convenient incompetence magically dovetailing with ongoing attempts to challenge cabdrivers new-found independence?


What doesn't require foretelling however is the fact that the language in Campos' bill mirrors the arguments made by cab companies last year in their FAILED attempt to prevent 390 of the county's existing cabdrivers from owning their own taxicab medallions.

So what's the big deal with independence and economic opportunity for individual cabdrivers?

The deal is dollars: cab companies charge cabdrivers $330 a week to rent one of their cabs, amounting to $17,160 a year from each driver.

Wondering who owns what?

For the past decade (maybe longer) three individuals have owned or controlled upwards of 600 of the county's 785 authorized taxicabs.

And now it seems, they own Campos too.

With a cab company lawsuit challenging the recently revised taxicab code already pending before the Courts, Campos ought to be ashamed of himself for using his seat to buttress an already shameless attack on low-income workers who want nothing more than the chance to own and operate their own taxicab.

Posted by: madrugada99 | March 8, 2011 9:58 PM | Report abuse

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