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Improving Coachella Valley Taxicab Service

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					        Improving
Coachella
Valley
Taxicab
Service


                                                                                                                          


                                                                                                                          


                                                                                                                          


                                                                                                                          


                                                                                                                          


                                                                                                                          


                                                                                                                          


                                                                             
                       
            
               
       
       




                                 
                       
                       
                       
            
               
A
White
Paper


        
                   
                       
                       
                       
            
               
       








5/12/08


                                             
                       
                       
                
               
         








Prepared
By:



             
                   
                       
                       
                       
           
       Burke
Rix
Hines
and
Associates

    
            
                   
                       
                       
                       






777
East
Tahquitz
Canyon
Way,
Ste
200­81

                     
                       
                       
                       
                  
        
         Palm
Springs,
CA
92264

                                         
                       
                       
                    
        
         





(760)
327­9708

                         
                       
                       
                       
                 
       




www.burkerixhines.com

                    Improving
Coachella
Valley
Taxicab
Service

                                                   

First
 impressions
 are
 important.
 
 Social
 science
 and
 psychological
 research
 both
 indicate

that
 it
 only
 takes
 30
 seconds
 to
 make
 a
 lasting
 impression.
 For
 humans,
 this
 first

impression
process
occurs
in
every
new
situation,
taking
in
sights,
sounds,
smells
and
other

information.
Once
a
first
impression
is
made,
it
is
virtually
irreversible.




The
 Palm
 Springs
 Airport
 is
 the
 Coachella
 Valley’s
 gateway
 to
 the
 world
 and
 serves
 as
 a

first
 impression
 for
 visitors
 to
 our
 community.
 When
 tourists
 deplane,
 they
 immediately

begin
to
take
in
the
beauty
of
the
mountains,
the
fresh
air
and
the
warm
weather.





Unfortunately,
 they
 also
 take
 in
 aging
 taxicabs,
 with
 hit‐or‐miss
 customer
 service
 and

extraordinarily
 high
 fares.
 This
 creates
 a
 poor
 first
 impression
 of
 our
 community,
 our

airport
and
our
municipal
governments.
Poor
quality
taxicab
service
is
also
a
disservice
to

our
citizenry,
who
deserve
a
higher
caliber
transportation
resource.







"When people fly into Palm Springs International Airport to visit the Coachella Valley, the overall
‘travel experience’ extends well beyond the boundaries of the airport and ground transportation
is a key contributing factor. It is important that the Valley continues to evolve and implement
new methods of enhancing the caliber of taxicab services whenever possible."
                                                           
        
        
       
       Thomas
Nolan

                                                      Executive
Director,
Palm
Springs
International
Airport




The
Problem



The
recently
commissioned
Mundy
Study
concludes
“that
the
[taxicab]
industry
is
in
a
state

of
decline
with
respect
to
service
levels,
cost,
efficient
operations
and
public
image.”
The
study

goes
on
to
say
that
“even
with
rates
among
the
highest
in
the
Nation,
tourists
and
local
users

alike
 experience
 service
 in
 old
 vehicles,
 sometimes
 rude
 drivers,
 drivers
 predisposed
 to
 take

the
longer
route
and
sometimes
drivers
unwilling
to
take
the
short
trips.”



SunLine
Transit
Agency
has
taken
minimal
steps
to
adjust
regulation,
hoping
that
problems

will
 be
 solved.
 But
 after
 almost
 a
 year,
 it
 is
 painfully
 obvious
 that
 little
 has
 changed.
 A

handful
of
operators
who
provided
the
worst
service
have
been
removed
from
the
roads,

but
 the
market
 still
 suffers
from
all
 of
the
problems
identified
in
the
“Mundy
 Study.”
It
 is

clear
that
SunLine
lacks
resources,
and
perhaps
the
will,
to
fully
regulate
the
industry.




As
 a
 result,
 not
 only
 do
 tourists
 and
 residents
 of
 the
 Coachella
 Valley
 suffer
 with
 dismal

service,
but
the
taxicab
operators
themselves
struggle
to
provide
high‐quality
service.

Too

many
 cabs
 in
 the
 market,
 unfairly
 high
 licensing
 fees
 and
 regulatory
 complacence
 with

regard
 to
 rogue
 bandit
 drivers
 create
 an
 intolerable
 environment
 for
 taxicab
 operators.





                                                                                                         1

This
inefficient
and
inhospitable
service
is
due
to
the
fact
that
none
of
the
operators
have
a

sophisticated
 dispatch
 system
 that
 accommodates
 trip
 demand
 and
 vehicle
 proximity.

Taxicab
 operators
 are
 struggling
 to
 make
 a
 living
 and
 many
 are
 insolvent
 because
 the

system
has
failed
to
protect
them
with
proper
regulation.






“We are dying out there. No matter what we do, we are scraping by. I can’t afford to invest a lot
of money in my company. And I can’t afford not to. Like most of the smaller cab companies, I
am terrified of what the future holds for my drivers and my family.”
                                                                                            Robin
Burns


                Owner
of
Classi
Cabs
and
Founding
Member
of
the
Coachella
Valley
Taxi
Owners
Association

                                                                       
        
       
       
       





Market
Context



The
 Coachella
 Valley
 taxicab
 industry
 is
 composed
 entirely
 of
 small
 companies
 with

insignificant
 infrastructure
 and
 resources
 devoted
 to
 help
 deliver
 service
 to
 the

community.
Cabs
are
focused
on
tourism
and
airport
traffic,
while
local
trips
by
residents

to
 the
 doctor
 or
 grocery
 store
 are
 often
 ignored.
 
Small
 companies
 lack
 access
 to

operational
 delivery
 services
 like
 quality
 telephone
 support,
 dispatch
 service,
 affiliated

drivers
 to
 help
 in
 busy
 times,
 bulk
 insurance
 pricing,
 credit
 card
 processing,
 commercial

account
 capability
 and
 many
 other
 services
 that
 a
 full‐service
 taxicab
 company
 would

provide
as
‘best
practice.’




There
are
seventeen
(17)
taxi
companies
in
the
Coachella
Valley
operating
approximately

205
 taxicabs.
 It
 is
 estimated
 that
 this
 number
 includes
 many
 independents
 “associated”

with
the
permitted
taxi
companies
but
still
largely
operate
independently
despite
the
spirit

of
recent

amendments
to
the
governing
ordinance.



Four
companies
operate
over
50%
of
the
business.
Only
two
of
these
firms
appear
to
have

any
semblance
of
a
terminal
operation
(office,
dispatch,
maintenance
facility,
etc).

Most
of

the
 firms
 operate
 from
 home‐based
 offices
 through
 the
 use
 of
 cell
 phones
 (despite

regulations
that
clearly
state
taxicab
permit
holders
must
show
proof
of
operation
from
a

principle
place
of
business
which
is
approved
by
local
ordinance
for
taxi
activity
and
offers

24/7
 dispatching).
 In
 short,
 regulations
 are
 not
 being
 enforced.
 The
 trend
 appears
 to

continue
 to
 move
 away
 from
 full‐service
 taxi
 companies
 to
 a
 collection/coalition
 of

independent
operators,
despite
lip
service
to
regulation.



Most
 companies
 are
 members
 of
 an
 independent
 taxicab
 association
 called
 the
 Coachella

Valley
 Taxicab
 Owners
 Association
 (CVTOA).
 The
 organization
 is
 loosely
 organized
 and

lacks
sufficient
resources
to
properly
represent
the
needs
of
the
industry
to
regulators.







                                                                                                     2





Regulatory
Environment



SunLine
Services
Group
(SSG),
a
division
of
the
SunLine
Transit
Agency,
is
the
public
entity

responsible
 for
 regulation
 of
 the
 taxi
 companies
 in
 the
 Coachella
 Valley.
 SSG
 issues

companies
 one‐year
 operating
 permits
 and
 allows
 independents
 to
 associate
 with

permitted
companies.


The
Coachella
Valley
is
considered
a
weak
(Open
Entry)
regulatory
environment.
Although

SSG
has
put
a
recent
moratorium
on
the
issuance
of
new
permits.
The
environment
allows

independents
to
operate
by
associating
with
a
permitted
company,
and
they
do.



As
a
result,
lack
of
true
regulation
produces
a
barrier
to
entry
for
professional
taxicab
firms

who
 are
 unwilling
 to
 invest
 the
 millions
 of
 dollars
 required.
 The
 Coachella
 Valley
 is

perceived
as
a
‘Wild,
Wild
West’
market
with
no
return
on
investment
protections
for
those

who
 might
 otherwise
 invest
 in
 our
 communities
 with
 new
 cars
 and
 operational

infrastructure.



SSG
has
shown
little
ability
to
monitor
permit
compliance
and
lacks
any
system/processes

to
understand
or
react
to
passenger
complaints.
There
appear
to
be
no
service
standards
to

compare
the
value
of
each
company’s
contribution
to
the
delivery
of
vital
services
for
the

community.
 The
 regulatory
 agency’s
 current
 scope
 is
 limited
 to
 the
 collection
 of
 fees
 and

publishing
of
safety
and
operating
standards
for
the
car
and
driver.


Additionally,
 many
 smaller
 taxicab
 companies
 report
 abuses
 and
 intimidation
 from

SunLine
 officials.
 Routinely
 in
 the
 last
 year,
 taxicab
 operators
 have
 been
 bullied
 by

regulators
and
made
to
feel
that
if
they
speak
up
against
high
regulatory
fees
or
“rock
the

boat”,
their
licenses
will
be
revoked.


The
 current
 regulator
 charges
 some
 of
 the
 highest
 per‐car
 licensing
 rates
 in
 the
 United

States.
In
comparison
to
other
areas
of
Southern
California,
SunLine’s
regulatory
rates
are

triple
 (or
 more)
 the
 rates
 charged
 by
 other
 regulatory
 bodies.
 This
 results
 in
 financial

strain
for
taxicab
operators
and
is
passed
to
consumers
in
the
form
of
higher
fares,
some
of

the
highest
in
the
country.






“We in the hospitality industry rely on quality taxicab operators for our guests. The current
providers are barely making the grade. We lag behind other markets in the responsiveness of
drivers and the quality of their automobiles. We need higher standards in the Coachella Valley.
We need change.”
                                                                               
     Aftab
Dada

                                                              General
Manager,
Hilton
Palm
Springs
Resort






                                                                                                      3



The
Solution



The
 Coachella
 Valley
 has
 simply
 outgrown
 its
 current
 model
 of
 scattered,
 independently

operating
 companies.
 Our
 taxicab
 industry
 must
 be
 professionalized
 and
 reflect
 the
 new

Coachella
 Valley.
 Both
 the
 SunLine
 commissioned
 “Mundy
 Study”
 and
 a
 CVAG‐
commissioned
 “Hunt
 Study”
 advocate
 for
 a
 roll‐up
 of
 independent
 operators
 into
 a

consolidated
model
of
limited,
full‐service
firms.
This
model
is
the
most
common
in
other

markets
 and
 has
 met
 with
 great
 success
 in
 similar
 communities
 of
 equal
 size
 and

demography.



The
National
Taxicab
Association,
the
TLPA,
considers
a
taxicab
company
most
capable
of

providing
 good
 service
 when
 fleets
 consist
 of
 newer
 model
 vehicles,
 current
 operational

technology,
effective
dispatch
systems
and
fleets
sized
at
50
or
more
taxicabs.

None
of
the

Valley
taxicab
companies
qualify
under
these
standards.




Drivers
that
affiliate
with
larger
entities
will
have
a
better
chance
of
success
in
delivering

services.
 
 At
 the
 same
 time,
 it
 is
 far
 more
 efficient
 for
 regulators
 to
 manage
 a
 smaller

number
 of
 full‐service,
 professional
 taxicab
 fleets.
 These
 fleets
 ultimately
 regulate

themselves,
 conforming
 to
 formal
 service
 standards
 in
 order
 to
 maintain
 their
 operating

agreements
with
municipalities.



Ordinance
Changes

Without
significant
ordinance
changes,
the
dreary
state
of
taxicab
service
in
the
Valley
will

not
improve.
Without
standards
to
protect
the
taxicab
industry
from
bandit
operators
and

ensure
 that
 a
 company’s
 investment
 is
 protected,
 professional,
 full‐service
 taxicab

companies
will
not
bring
new
automobiles
and
dispatching
centers
to
our
Valley.



For
 the
 good
 of
 its
 citizenry,
 its
 business
 community,
 its
 visitors
 and
 existing
 taxicab

drivers,
the
Coachella
Valley
should
immediately
effect
taxi
ordinance
changes
that
provide

for
minimum
taxi
company
infrastructure
(terminal
facility
with
24/7
dispatch
capability),

encouraging
the
self‐regulation
and
quality
control
by
professional
taxi
operators.



Changes
to
the
current
ordinance
need
to
include
the
following
amendments:


•   Operating
 Agreements
 (five‐year
 minimum
 term)
 limited
 to
 experienced
 professional

    taxi
firms
that
are
willing
to
commit
to
the
operation
of
a
minimum
of
50
taxis.
Limit

    the
number
of
professionally
operating,
full­service
taxi
companies
to
three.

    

•   Vehicle
Age
Limit
–
five
years
(maximum
age).
Only
cars
three
years
or
newer
may
be

    added
 to
 an
 existing
 fleet.
 Used
 cars
 added
 to
 any
 fleet
 must
 be
 free
 of
 any
 body
 and

    interior
 damage
 or
 excessive
 wear
 and
 tear.
 Accommodations
 for
 alternative
 fuel

    vehicles
may
be
granted
(see
below).


    

•   Eliminate
 independent
 taxi
 operators
 as
 they
 are
 defined
 today;
 specify
 that

    independent
contractors,
whether
they
be
a
driver
or
a
driver
with
an
owned
vehicle,





                                                                                                       4

    must
 enter
 into
 a
 contractual
 lease
 arrangement
 with
 a
 full‐service
 company
 who
 in

    turn
 provides
 the
 regulated
 oversight
 (such
 as
 car
 inspections,
 uniformed
 dress
 code,

    etc.)
as
specified
in
the
revised
taxi
 ordinance.
Independent
cars
must
be
painted
and

    identified
as
part
of
a
full‐service
taxi
fleet.

    

•   Increase
insurance
liability
limits
to
$1
million.

    

•   Require
uniformed
drivers
as
part
of
the
ordinance.



    •   Eliminate
 the
 $.75
 per
 trip
 charge
 and
 replace
 it
 with
 a
 yearly
 charge
 for
 a
 taxi

        permit.
 
This
 would
 eliminate
 a
 fee
 that
 is
 hard
 to
 quantify,
 calculate,
 collect
 and

        inadvertently
 discriminates
 against
 shorter
 trips.
 
It
 would
 save
 on
 the
 cost
 of

        program
 administration
 and
 likely
 save
 a
 fulltime
 employee
 position
 or
 allow
 the

        regulatory
staff
to
focus
more
on
improving
taxi
service.




Clearer
Standards
for
Regulation

The
 regulator
 needs
 to
 develop
 well‐defined,
 minimum
 service
 standards
 to
 grade
 the

service
 level
 of
 the
 fleets.
 
For
 example,
 the
 regulator
 might
 require
 that
 customer
 phone

calls
will
be
answered
within
six
rings
90%
of
the
time.

Or
the
regulator
might
require
that

taxis
will
pick
up
a
passenger
in
less
than
30
minutes
of
the
customer
request.
If
customer

pickup
requests
are
prescheduled,
the
operator
will
pick
up
the
client
within
10
minutes
of

the
 scheduled
 time.
 Standards
 like
 these
 are
 quantifiable
 and
 are
 industry
 standard
 best

practices.



Regulatory
Agency
Change

It
 is
 highly
 recommended
 that
 the
 regulatory
 authority
 of
 taxicab
 operations
 in
 the

Coachella
Valley
be
transferred
to
a
more
objective
and
vested
body.




The
SunLine
Service
Group
(SSG)
Joint
Powers
Authority
(JPA)
was
created
for
the
purpose

of
 marketing,
 selling
 and
 promoting
 compressed
 natural
 gas
 (CNG)
 consumption
 in
 the

Valley.
 Taxicab
 regulation
 was
 wrestled
 away
 from
 the
 individual
 municipalities
 with
 a

seemingly
nefarious
intention
–
to
create
a
monopolized
demand
for
fueling
at
the
SunLine

stations.
CNG
taxis
were
brought
to
market
and
leased
to
unwitting
operators
with
many

promises
of
reduced
fuel
pricing,
automobile
maintenance
and
reduced
regulatory
fees
–
all

of
which
went
unfulfilled.
The
model
failed
and
the
industry
was
severely
damaged
because

of
SunLine’s
“experiment.”




Though
 the
 sins
 of
 a
 previous
 SunLine
 regime
 should
 not
 be
 held
 against
 the
 current

leadership,
taxicab
regulation
remains
an
afterthought
for
the
Agency.

Certainly
regulating

a
fleet
of
independent
automobiles
is
not
a
core
competency
of
a
mass
transit
agency.
One

only
need
take
stock
of
the
current
state
of
affairs
of
our
taxicab
market
to
see
that
SunLine

has
 simply
 failed
 to
 deliver
 a
 viable
 regulatory
 market
 that
 protects
 quality
 taxicab

operators
and
the
public.




Beyond
 that,
 there
 is
 evidence
 that
 suggests
 taxicab
 regulation
 continues
 to
 fuel
 other

SunLine
 ambitions
 that
 are
 unrelated
 to
 the
 good
 of
 the
 taxicab
 industry
 and
 the




                                                                                                      5

community
 it
 serves.
 Co‐mingled
 revenues
 from
 taxicab
 regulatory
 fees
 are
 bleeding
 into

other
 aspects
 of
 the
 Agency
 that
 are
 unrelated
 to
 cabs.
 Several
 salaries
 are
 “shared”

between
 SunLine
 Transit
 Agency
 and
 SunLine
 Services
 Groups.
 Overheads
 expenses
 are

“blended”
between
the
two
entities.





Though
 there
 is
 no
 indication
 of
 legal
 impropriety,
 it
 is
 easy
 to
 see
 that
 SunLine
 has
 a

vested
 interest
 in
 keeping
 regulatory
 rates
 as
 high
 as
 possible
 and
 keeping
 the
 taxicab

industry
divided,
disorganized
and
weak.
This
explains
SunLine’s
vehement
opposition
to
a

consolidated
 system
 as
 professional,
 full‐service
 taxicab
 firms
 speak
 with
 a
 louder
 voice,

are
 not
 easily
 intimidated,
 are
 organized
 and
 experienced
 enough
 in
 other
 markets
 to

recognize
injustices
by
their
regulator.




Stakeholders
 have
 long
 agreed
 that
 a
 strong
 candidate
 for
 regulation
 is
 the
 Palm
 Springs

Airport
 Authority.
 As
 nearly
 all
 of
 the
 taxicab
 operators
 cycle
 through
 the
 Airport,
 it
 is
 a

likely
 home
 for
 monitoring
 and
 managing
 taxicab
 operations.
 Many
 markets
 throughout

the
 United
 States
 use
 airports
 as
 a
 home
 for
 monitoring
 and
 maintaining
 high
 quality

taxicab
operations.
The
Airport
Commission
is
made
of
up
representatives
from
all
of
the

Coachella
Valley’s
communities,
as
well
as
the
County
of
Riverside.
This
body
has
a
vested

interest
 in
 improving
 taxicab
 service,
 but
 does
 not
 operate
 competing
 ground

transportation
services.
They
are
professional,
have
strong
leadership
from
throughout
the

Coachella
 Valley
 and
 are
 motivated
 to
 provide
 an
 overall
 positive
 Valley
 experience
 for

guests
and
the
community
at
large.





Incentives
for
Alternative
Fuel
Vehicles

Reforming
 the
 taxicab
 industry
 in
 the
 Coachella
 Valley
 will
 likely
 result
 in
 new
 fleets
 of

automobiles
 –
 a
 much‐needed
 improvement,
 given
 the
 significantly
 aging
 taxicabs

currently
on
our
roads.
This
change
presents
a
unique
window
of
opportunity
to
encourage

vendors
 to
 bring
 alternative
 fuel
 vehicles
 into
 the
 Desert.
 Registration
 or
 tax
 incentives

could
 be
 given
 to
 vendors
 who
 replace
 aging
 cars
 with
 hybrid
 or
 natural
 gas‐powered

automobiles.
Another
common
incentive
structure
is
to
allow
firms
to
operate
alternative

fuel
or
hybrid
vehicles
for
eight
years,
as
opposed
to
the
customary
three
to
five
years
for

standard
cars.
This
would
not
only
level
the
field
for
more
expensive
zero‐emission
cars
to

enter
the
market,
but
it
would
also
create
a
public
policy
incentive
for
professional
firms
to

choose
CNG
or
hybrid
cars
for
their
Valley
operations.




Airport
Concessions

A
 contract
 should
 be
 considered
 for
 managing
 the
 uniqueness
 of
 the
 airport
 taxi

concession.

This
contract
would
result
in
a
managed
plan
for
service
delivery
and
include

starters
and
inspections
of
cabs
and
drivers.


A
starter
would
greet
the
customer
coming

out
 of
 the
 terminal
 and
 assist
 them
 into
 the
 next
 cued
 cab.
 The
 starter
 can
 answer
 rate

questions
 and
 ensure
 that
 drivers
 take
 trips
 in
 the
 proper
 order
 and
 do
 not
 refuse
 short

trips.
 
Taxis
 would
 be
 inspected
 for
 cleanliness
 and
 proper
 licenses
 and
 permits.
 
Drivers

would
 be
 checked
 for
 uniforms
 and
 driving
 permits.
 This
 would
 be
 a
 self‐regulating

concession
and
relieve
the
airport
of
service
delivery
problems.







                                                                                                        6

What
about
the
Current
Drivers?

In
 other
 markets
 where
 consolidated
 systems
 have
 been
 adopted,
 quality
 independent

drivers
and
smaller
companies
have
generally
been
absorbed
into
full‐service
firms.

Better

cars,
comprehensive
benefits
and
higher
ride
volume
as
a
result
of
professional
dispatching

and
 computer
 aided
 assignment
 systems
 ultimately
 deliver
 higher
 wages
 and
 a
 higher

quality
 of
 life
 for
 once
 struggling
 independents.
 Larger
 firms
 bring
 new
 automobiles
 and

robust
dispatching
systems
to
market,
but
still
need
quality,
local
drivers.
As
a
result,
full‐
service
operators
recruit
their
drivers
from
the
existing
local
market
pool.

Already
in
the

Coachella
 Valley,
 coalitions
 have
 begun
 to
 form
 that
 will
 provide
 terrific
 jobs
 for
 existing

drivers
and
a
higher
standard
of
living
for
their
families.




Cost
‐
Benefit
Analysis:

The
 cost
 of
 consolidating
 the
 Coachella
 Valley
 taxicab
 industry
 and
 moving
 regulatory

authority
 to
 the
 Airport
 is
 negligible.
 In
 fact,
 most
 cities
 that
 have
 transitioned
 to

consolidated
 systems
 ultimately
 save
 significant
 money
 because
 regulation
 yields
 a
 much

more
 efficient
 system.
 Instead
 of
 chasing
 205
 taxicabs
 around
 the
 Valley,
 the
 regulator
 is

able
 to
 work
 with
 a
 small
 number
 of
 professional,
 high‐quality
 companies
 who
 have
 a

vested
interest
in
maintaining
high‐quality
service
to
maintain
their
operating
agreements.

Short‐term
 administrative
 costs
 and
 legal
 fees
 associated
 with
 transitioning
 regulatory

authority
from
one
agency
to
another
will
be
mitigated
by
longer‐term
savings
in
personnel

and
regulatory
operational
expenses.




The
benefits
are
many.
Combined
with
more
efficient
taxicab
operations,
the
normalization

and
alignment
of
taxicab
regulatory
fees
with
other
markets
will
likely
result
in
a
decrease

of
fare
rates
–
truly
benefitting
the
consumer,
whose
number
one
complaint
is
high
fares.

Making
taxicab’s
more
affordable
will
benefit
our
businesses,
as
tourists
will
be
more
likely

to
use
cabs
to
explore
neighboring
shopping
districts
and
entertainment
venues.




Professionalizing
our
taxicab
industry
will
also
go
far
in
improving
the
image
of
our
Airport

and
our
Valley
as
a
whole.
The
juxtaposition
of
dirty,
old
taxicabs
against
the
beauty
of
our

resorts
and
neighborhoods
leaves
a
sour
image
of
our
community
in
the
minds
of
visitors.

Aligning
clean,
new
cabs
that
are
powered
by
alternative
fuels
and
driven
by
professionally

trained
and
uniformed
drivers
will
correct
this
dichotomy.




What
Next?
When?


First,
 regulatory
 authority
 should
 be
 moved
 from
 SunLine
 Services
 Group
 to
 the
 Palm

Springs
Airport
Authority.
Preparations
should
be
made
over
the
next
several
months
for
a

streamlined
handoff,
perhaps
with
qualified
personnel
moving
from
SunLine
to
the
Airport

to
maintain
corporate
knowledge
and
provide
for
a
smooth
transition.
Transitioning
over

the
summer
makes
sense,
given
the
decrease
in
traffic
volume.
This
allows
the
Airport
to
be

positioned
for
the
Fall
taxicab
licensing
period
and
the
start
of
the
tourist
season.







                                                                                                      7

Second,
the
Airport
Authority
should
begin
preparing
a
new
taxicab
ordinance
that
is
ready

for
 implementation
 upon
 hand‐off
 from
 SunLine.
 The
 ordinance
 will
 grandfather
 current

licensees
until
their
one‐year
permits
expire
in
the
late
fall
of
2008.



Third,
 consolidation
 of
 operators
 and
 full‐service
 operating
 agreements
 with
 qualified

firms
 will
 begin
 upon
 issuance
 of
 the
 new
 ordinance.
 Several
 smaller
 taxicab
 companies

have
already
begun
the
process
out
of
pure
financial
necessity.
The
consolidation
process

will
be
market
driven
and
move
quickly
once
the
ordinance
is
formalized.



Fourth,
the
Airport
should
prepare
a
Request
for
Proposal
(RFP)
for
an
airport
taxi‐starter

concession
to
aid
in
curbside
service
management.




Conclusion



       
      
       
      "No action, No change.


                            Limited action, Limited change.

                            Lots of action, Change occurs."

                                                             Catherine Pulsifer, from “Change”


       By
 regulating
 minimum
 financial
 and
 operating
 standards
 for
 taxicab
 companies,

        the
 community
 encourages
 self‐regulation
 and
 quality
 control
 by
 professional
 taxi

        firms
that
will
now
have
a
significant
vested
financial
interest
in
the
community
and

        most
 importantly
 in
 providing
 first‐class
 service
 to
 the
 ridership
 within
 the

        community.






       Based
on
the
ordinance
changes
recommended
above,
as
well
as
a
repositioning
of

        regulation
with
the
Airport
Authority,
professional
transportation
firms
will
invest

        in
 our
 community
 and
 expand
 reputable
 taxi
 service
 operations
 to
 the
 Coachella

        Valley,
likely
facilitated
by
the
purchase
of
local
taxi
companies
and
recruitment
of

        independent
drivers.





       Leadership
 is
 needed
 to
 break
 the
 status
 quo
 inertia
 that
 permeates
 our
 current

        system.
 The
 experts
 have
 weighed
 in
 with
 independent
 studies.
 We
 can
 see
 the

        positives
 in
 other
 communities
 that
 have
 made
 the
 tough
 choices
 and
 moved
 to
 a

        consolidated
system.
It
is
time
for
the
Coachella
Valley
to
bring
much
needed
change

        to
our
limping
taxicab
industry.





                                                                                                 8


				
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