The Laguna Beach City Council approved a plan Tuesday to subsidize taxi service for residents, who often can't find parking spots in their own community because of a year-round tourist crush.
Hoping residents will leave their cars at home, the council unanimously agreed to begin the six-month pilot project in January.
About 3 million tourists jam the area each year.
Local residents will be able to purchase at City Hall $2 coupons that will allow as many as four people to ride in a participating cab between 5:30 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. daily. Participants must be traveling to or from either downtown or an area along Coast Highway between 4th Avenue and Beverly Drive.
"It's the ultimate stocking stuffer," said Councilman Paul Freeman, who proposed the program.
Councilwoman Toni Iseman said she hopes the city will offer the tickets online.
The program is "a great idea," she said. "But one problem is that you can't always get the vouchers when you need them. I'm going to encourage people to stock up."
Taxi companies, some of which have expressed interest in the program, will be reimbursed $8 for each one-way trip. The council agreed to pay for the $20,000 program with funds from the State Local Transit Fund, which is administered by the Orange County Transportation Authority.
The city will review the program in June and, depending on its popularity, will expand or cancel it, City Manager Kenneth C. Frank said.
Laguna Beach's downtown area has 2,000 parking places, about half of which are public. The other 1,000 are for shoppers patronizing specific businesses or are rented out for a flat rate.
Freeman said it is cheaper to launch the taxi program than to extend Laguna Beach's bus service, which ends at 6 p.m.