It is all well and good for The Times to pontificate about the need to improve the city's taxi service, as per an editorial ("Toward Decent Cab Service," Oct. 20), recommending improvement simply by putting more cabs on the street in the form of a new service. It is an oversimplification.
Lack of sufficient city-authorized taxis is only part of the problem. There are approximately 600 non-authorized, bandit operators in competition with the city's authorized cabs. Such bandits are often uninsured, untrained, uncaring and drive vehicles that have not been inspected.
Poor service in certain areas of the city is the result of a lack of commitment by city-authorized operators to provide adequate cabs in those areas. The underlying reason for such action is insufficient demand to justify the necessary commitment. Non-authorized, bandit cabs provide extensive service in these areas thus seizing much of the demand that would otherwise justify the greater commitment by legitimate operators.
There are an estimated 600 bandit operators who ply their trade in Los Angeles without benefit of regulations designed to protect the public's welfare. These operators are not screened for criminal or driving records and their vehicles are not checked for safety by the city. The public is at risk when riding in such vehicles. Every bandit fare in the city represents a loss in revenue for the legitimate operators.