Getting a taxi at LAX or at a big hotel is never a problem, but try calling one from home. The service is pretty good in the busiest sections of Los Angeles, uneven in the far reaches west of the San Diego Freeway and only fair in the far north-eastern communities. A few more cabs, assigned where the need is greatest, would even out the service.
Waits of more than 15 minutes are not uncommon in Westchester, Mar Vista and the Pacific Palisades, according to a study by the city's Department of Transportation. Similar delays are even more common in Eagle Rock, Highland Park, El Sereno, Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights, where 20% of the cabs simply never show up. That is unacceptable by the most minimal standards of the city.
A new taxi service--Bell Cab Co., a cooperative--promises to work where cabs are needed. The drivers deserve the go-ahead, but with several restrictions to keep them out of the waiting line at LAX and to guarantee better service in areas that are poorly served.
Los Angeles has 1,068 cabs--a paltry number compared to other big cities, but getting a cab isn't quite the necessity in a city where owning a car is a way of life. When people need cabs, however, they ought to be able to get one within 15 minutes no matter where they live.
The Board of Transportation Commissioners and the Los Angeles City Council should heed the transportation department's recommendations and approve the new cabs so that everyone can enjoy decent service.