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Taxi Service in Los Angeles

May 21, 2000

We at the Los Angeles Department of Transportation agree that visitors to Los Angeles, as well as our residents, deserve first-rate taxicab service. However, we take issue with The Times' use of vague accounts of taxi problems to imply ineffective regulation of the industry (editorial, May 1).

There are about 300 active rules of the Board of Taxicab Commissioners governing taxicabs and their drivers in L.A. Each problem mentioned in the editorial is addressed in these rules, including prohibitions against drivers smoking without the consent of passengers or the use of indirect routes to passenger destinations. To obtain a permit, drivers must pass a test to prove their ability to navigate throughout the L.A. area and speak comprehensible English. All of our drivers must also pass a criminal history background check, which includes fingerprinting. Every licensed taxicab is thoroughly inspected at least once a year by LADOT. The taxicab service out of LAX is superlative. In 1999, 1.4 million taxicab trips originated from LAX, serving approximately 3.5 million passengers. All those trips generated fewer than 100 taxi complaints during that year.

Consumers can call the Taxicab Regulation Division at (213) 580-1244 to report any instances of unsatisfactory service. Our investigators do need to be told a specific date, time, company, vehicle, driver, location, etc., to effectively pursue a complaint.

TOM DRISCHLER, Taxicab

Administrator, Los Angeles

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