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Valleywide : Hearings Urged to Gauge Taxi Demand

August 26, 1995|HUGO MARTIN

A Los Angeles transportation panel has recommended that the city hold hearings to gauge the public's demand for taxis in the San Fernando Valley before considering a plan to expand cab service here.

The city's Transportation Commission, an appointed advisory board, had previously recommended that the city revoke a franchise permit for San Fernando Valley Checker Cab, one of only two taxi firms serving the Valley.

The firm, owned by Burbank-based Babaeian Transportation Co., was criticized by the panel for failing to provide computerized dispatching and seven wheelchair accessible cabs--services promised under its 1992 operating agreement.

On July 27, the panel recommended that the City Council seek competitive bidding from taxi firms interested in replacing Checker Cab. The panel also recommended accepting bids to operate additional cabs in the Valley.

But on Thursday, the Transportation Commission asked to amend the recommendation so that the City Council can only consider bids to operate additional cabs after holding public hearings to determine if there is enough demand for additional cabs.

Checker Cab has a permit to operate 85 cabs, while the Valley's only other licensed taxi firm, Valley Cab, has a permit to operate 96 taxis.

On Friday, Checker Cab got more bad news when the city's Department of Transportation notified the firm that its insurance carrier is no longer serving cab companies. In a letter, the department said Checker Cab must find a new insurance carrier by Thursday or face immediate suspension Sept. 1.

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