LETTER: Strong opposition to taxi regulations

Special to The Log

Honorable City Council:

I wanted you to review the public records regarding taxi complaints throughout the state of Florida where cabs are highly regulated. I retrieved them from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement with a simple public records request.

You will find several complaints for overcharging by companies with meters installed. One way or another, the regulated cabs throughout the State of Florida that have rates set in place by government officials have notorious, numerous public complaints for overcharging.

TNCs have numerous, notorious records of failing to operating with out a for-hire permit. Taxi regulations don’t work. Creating rules will only create rule-breakers.

I strongly oppose creating any taxi regulations for the city of Destin. I oppose taxi regulations globally. They simply don't work. Please consider following Sarasota's lead.

When it comes to rides, government involvement is not needed.

Individuals should have the liberty to choose whether or not they will ride with any driver, at anytime. Individuals should have the liberty to find out the price of their ride before they take it.

Individuals don't need government telling them who they can and cannot ride with.

When it comes to background checks, it is my opinion, private companies should handle internally.

Every company I know does a background check on their drivers.

Regardless, background checked individuals can do some horrible things.

When it comes to insurance, requiring commercial insurance will only increase the price of a ride for consumers abroad. If a commercial insurance policy cost $4,400 per year, per cab, and you divide that by 365 days per year, that will leave each cab -$12 every day. In seasonal areas like Destin, that will put each cab negative about $20 per day. When you add permit fees by the airports and cities the negative cost per day will keep getting worse. Don't forget the cost of county tax receipts and city tax receipts. The solution to this equation continues to place the owner more and more in the hole.

Could this be the reason the cost of the cab is expensive? TNCs have clearly proved they can charge less by eliminating these fess and governments abroad have failed to enforce their own regulations. This has caused significant loss of income to the traditional taxi industry.

Knowing the numbers I just outlined, in support of the taxis playing by the rules, I'd move to strike all regulations for the airports. I'd feel like I was ripping the airport permitted drivers off to not cut their expenses any way possible. I'd still allow anyone with a permit to sit in the line and stop selling the stickers. I'd close down the office for taxis inside the airport period. It's not needed.

This would mean me, you, your mother, your brother, or anyone with a car can drive up to the curb at the airport and pick-up someone without being interrogated by airport police.

Shopping malls don't create a revenue stream off the people picking up and dropping off on their private property. They don't have an office inside the shopping mall for regulating taxis. They are just happy people are coming and going to their stores.

Why do the airports? They should be happy people are flying in and out of their airport.

Our current county commissioners did not write the current rules. With respect to them, they were blindly surprised like the traditional taxis. If I were them, I'd say: "I didn't write those rules" Let's eliminate some rules for a change.

Respectfully Submitted,

Tim Anderson