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Alderman issues proposal to lift cap on new taxicab permits

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Milwaukee Alderman Bob Bauman has issued a proposal seeking to repeal the city’s cap on issuing new public passenger vehicle permits. That proposal will be discussed Friday, February 8th during a public hearing before the city’s Public Transportation Review Board.

The ordinance would also create a more frequent taxicab inspection process, as well as taxi vehicle standards and equipment requirements.

Alderman Bauman, chair of the Public Works Committee, said the city passed an ordinance in 1991 that arbitrarily capped the number of public passenger vehicle permits. As a result, there are actually fewer taxis operating in Milwaukee today than 20 years ago.

“By lifting the cap and enacting more robust inspection and vehicle equipment standards, we will be allowing the free market to determine the number of taxis that will operate in Milwaukee while insuring the comfort, safety, and cleanliness of those taxis,” Alderman Bauman said.

Friday’s hearing will be held at 9 a.m. in room 301-B at City Hall, 200 E. Wells St.

The hearing will be televised live on City Channel 25 on Time Warner Cable in the City of Milwaukee, and on U-Verse Channel 99. Online viewing is available by going to http://www.city.milwaukee.gov/Channel25.

The ordinance provides that new and renewal permits issued on or after November 1st, 2014, may only be issued to vehicles that, in addition to meeting all other requirements, either meet requirements for handicapped-elderly vehicles or that provide passenger leg room of not less than 55 inches.

This leg room requirement is measured from the back of the seat to the back of the seat in front.

In addition, the ordinance also requires that inspections of permitted taxicabs be scheduled and conducted not less than once every calendar quarter.

The Department of Public Works would be assigned to conduct all inspections of taxicabs operated by holders of public passenger vehicle permits.

The proposal is expected to be scheduled soon for a hearing before the Council’s Public Safety Committee.