Germantown Cab Company Shut Down by PPA

Philadelphia Business Journal  and NBC 10 report that the Philadelphia Parking Authority has shut down Germantown Cab Company, taking 150 taxis off the streets for allegedly failing to turn over proper documentation and background checks on the company’s drivers.

“We want every member of the riding public to be able to enter a cab and feel confident that they are stepping into a safe cab,” said PPA Attorney Michael Casey.

Michael Henry, an attorney for Germantown Cab, claims the PPA didn’t give the company a fair chance before shutting them down however.

The PPA regulates cabs in Philadelphia. City Hall has been taking a look at how to improve taxi quality—both car and driver—in recent weeks, but the conversation had been centered on expanding competition rather than cracking down. 

Is There a Solution to the Philly Taxi Problem?

Two things that were apparent during a Tuesday committee hearing at City Hall: First, there’s just not a lot of love for the Philly taxi system— even among the people who work and earn their livings from it.

Second: Fixing the problems might be a long way off.

Other cities provide better, cheaper, greener cabs with better-paid drivers, said Councilman David Oh, who chaired Tuesday’s meeting. “Somewhere in this mix there’s a better formula for us,” he said.

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Does Philadelphia Really Need More Taxis? How About Better Taxis?

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The last time I was in a Philly cab, the car itself was roughly in the same shape as the Millenium Falcon during its more fraught moments in The Empire Strikes Back. My driver willed the vehicle up a small incline on the edge of Center City, the engine audibly struggling, only to generate a magnificent SCRAAAAAAAAAAAP-ing sound as he applied the brakes to stop at my destination.

The time before that? The driver griped relentlessly at me for using a credit card — I had no cash on me. I ended up climbing over a big pile of curbside snow to run to an ATM and get the cash he wanted.

More taxis? Maybe Philadelphia doesn’t need more taxis. It needs better taxis, and nicer taxi drivers.

Be that as it may, City Council later this month is going to start talks on how to create a “world-class” taxi service. And that discussion seems like it will be more focused on how many cabs the city provides, rather than how good they are.

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