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Anaheim OKs Franchise Taxicab Plan

August 30, 2000|JUDY SILBER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Anaheim will solicit franchise proposals for its taxicab operations, a move the City Council hopes will lead to improved and more timely service.

The council voted 5-0 Tuesday to adopt a franchise system, which probably will divide 230 permits among two or three companies.

The expected completion of the Anaheim Convention Center expansion and new Disney theme park, California Adventure, in early 2001 will bring more visitors to Anaheim, code enforcement manager John Poole said. A franchise system will ensure city control over service quality, he said, though a recent survey reported that overall satisfaction with taxi service in Anaheim is high.

Two taxi companies--Yellow Cab of North Orange County and A Taxi Cab Co.--now have the exclusive right to operate in Anaheim. Yellow Cab has had Anaheim permits for more than 50 years, while A Taxi has had its permits for more than 10 years.

Schaller Consulting recommended that companies applying for franchises have a 24-hour computerized dispatch service. Cars used for taxis must be less than 7 years old. The consultant also suggested that taxis must pick up customers in 20 minutes or less.

Smaller companies such as South Coast Cab have objected to the franchise criteria, saying they don't have the resources to compete. "It doesn't give the opportunity for smaller companies to get in and do business," South Coast Cab owner Savvas Roditis said. Roditis has tried several times to obtain permits in Anaheim.

After the council's action Tuesday, interested taxi companies will now compete for the franchises. Because the city is a lucrative market, eight to 10 companies are expected to apply. An evaluation committee will rank each proposal, and the council will grant up to three franchises.

Under the consultant's suggestions, the city will grant franchises for five years but also conduct an annual review. The city can revoke the franchise of any company failing to adhere to the standards.

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