The Anaheim City Council on Tuesday rejected a cab company's request to work in the tourist-oriented city, prompting company officials to accuse the council of maintaining a monopoly because it now allows only one taxi firm to operate.
Council members turned down the request by West Coast Cab Co. to operate 10 cars within Anaheim's city limits because they said the firm did not submit a complete application. The city staff also questioned whether there is a need for another cab company and said that West Coast cabs have been seen operating illegally within the city limits.
Floyd L. Farano, an attorney representing Yellow Cab of North Orange County, the only taxi company permitted to operate in Anaheim, told council members Tuesday that another cab company was not warranted because his client is serving the city adequately.
'Definitely a Monopoly'
Fred R. Mc Cuistion, West Coast Cab's general manager, said after the hearing that he was "very, extremely" surprised by the denial and said "there's a little bit more to it than you see."
"When a businessman is trying to come into an area to help a community . . . and they (the council) state there is another cab company that is sufficiently handling it and there is no need for another company, to me that's definitely a monopoly," Mc Cuistion said.
After the hearing, however, Mayor Pro Tem Miriam Kaywood said: "It's not a monopoly. It's not a closed franchise. We look at each one."
In the last five years, Kaywood said, four or five firms have applied for a taxi permit but were turned down. The last one, she said, had "two old cars." If a taxi service is not dependable, it could hurt tourism in the city, Kaywood added.
The council, in rejecting West Coast Cab's application, told Mc Cuistion that he failed to satisfy an 11-part requirement list for such a permit. The company, council members said, did not turn in financial statements showing stability or surveys showing why another company is needed in the area.
Mc Cuistion told the council that he turned in the information that was requested by the city, but that he would oblige by meeting the other requirements if he were granted a two-week extension. The council denied his request for an extension, saying he could reapply instead.
Mc Cuistion said he plans to reapply "as soon as possible."
In the last 11 months, Mc Cuistion said, the relatively new West Coast Cab Co. has won approval to operate taxi services in Brea, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Newport Beach, the Saddleback Valley, Stanton and Yorba Linda.
According to Mc Cuistion, the Santa Ana-based company receives frequent calls from hotels and other sources in Anaheim that are looking for another taxi service.
In a report to the council, the Anaheim city staff recommended against issuing the new permit. Among the reasons cited, the staff said that the company "has not produced any evidence to demonstrate that the public convenience or necessity require the operation of their service."
The report added that city code-enforcement officers have observed West Coast cabs picking up fares illegally in Anaheim. One driver was cited and is due to appear in court Thursday. Mc Cuistion said he was unaware of the citation.