File Name: RER PRESENT A STATUS REPORT ON THE ONGOING TAXI STUDY
Requester: Regulatory and Economic Resources
Agenda Item Number:
PRESENTATION OF A STATUS REPORT ON THE ONGOING TAXI STUDY BY REGULATORY AND ECONOMIC RESOURCES (RER)
Jean Monestime, Prime Sponsor
Transportation & Aviation Committee
Ms. Theresa Therilus, Legal Advisor for the Regulatory and Economic Resources Department (RER), noted on July 3, 2012, the Board adopted Ordinance 12-51, amending Chapter 31 of the Code to require that a public hearing be held on the Mayor’s report establishing a formula for the number of additional for-hire taxicab licenses needed in the County. She indicated that this report must be submitted by the end of December 2013. Ms. Therilus noted, in preparing for the report, the department met with the Taxicab Advisory Group (TAG), which created a subcommittee to look at the taxicab growth formula. She noted one of the items they considered was the 2007 study on Taxicab Use in Miami-Dade County. Ms. Therilus said the study suggested a growth formula that included a 25 percent wait in four different areas of taxicab use in Miami-Dade County. The first area was percentage of growth in population, the second area was percentage of growth in hotel occupancy, the third was percentage of growth in the number of taxi trips from the airport and seaport, and the fourth was percentage of growth number of the records of electronic data dispatched from the taxicabs. She noted in response to the TAG’s discussion regarding the fourth component of the taxicab growth formula and not enough electronic data records to justify it, the Subcommittee met, recommended and approved a 2% growth in taxicab medallions over the next five years, by way of a lottery. Ms. Therilus said this formula, approved by the Subcommittee, would appear before the TAG on July 23, 2013, and the department would subsequently have enough information necessary to prepare a report for the Board of County Commissioners consideration.
Commissioner Monestime questioned if the report was due in July, to which Ms. Therilus clarified that the report was actually due in December 2013.
Commissioner Monestime noted he requested the report because he had received many calls from the taxicab industry complaining about the study and that no one had reached out to the taxicab drivers. He also noted he was told by his staff that the taxicab drivers were not represented by any member serving on the TAG.
Ms. Therilus noted the TAG had a few vacancies opened for taxicab drivers to join as members; however, several members of the existing Subcommittee were taxicab drivers, including one who had been an owner-driver for many years. She pointed out that it was the Subcommittee that met on May 30th, 2013, and recommended the 2% growth formula over the next five years, by lottery.
Commissioner Monestime asked if the department made any efforts to reach out to the taxicab drivers in order to obtain their input on the study and to validate the data provided for the growth formula. He said he was interested in knowing whether the department had any interaction with the taxicab drivers prior to preparing the report or was the report being proffered without any input from them.
Ms. Therilus advised that the Taxicab Industry discussed the recommended 2% growth formula over the next five years, which was an alternative formula to the one provided in the report, and noted it was a result of the input provided by the taxicab drivers present at the Subcommittee meeting. She said that the meeting was well attended and the taxicab drivers agreed to the formula presented and adopted.
Commissioner Monestime asked if the study revealed a need for additional medallions and was an effort made on behalf of the County to increase the fares. He noted although he understood this would need to be approved by the State Legislature, he wanted to know if it was addressed in the study, should the County attempt to increase the number of medallions and request the Dade Delegation’s support of an increase in fares.
Ms. Therilus explained that the scope of the study was to review the relative use of taxicabs in Miami-Dade County, but as it related to the issue in question, the Subcommittee’s discussion specifically addressed the amount of medallions that needed to be issued.
Deputy Mayor Jack Osterholt noted an attempt was made to balance the TAG with a diverse membership, and staff tried several times to meet with the individuals suggested to encourage them to participate on the TAG, but they chose not to.
Commissioner Monestime noted many people choose not to participate when they feel disenfranchised or had no voice in the matter. He asked staff to continue their efforts and said he was willing and available to assist.
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