Judge to Rule on Taxi Permits Debate

A judge will soon decide whether the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) can begin issuing new taxi permits now that a cap on the number of available permits has been lifted.

Late last year, the San Diego City Council approved lifting a cap on the number of taxi permits. That lift has now led to a Superior Court hearing because not everyone is on board with the decision.

Over the last 30 years, there has been a cap on the number of taxi permits available in San Diego.

In March, a group of local cab companies filed a lawsuit to stop the MTS from processing new taxi permits, arguing that having no limit on the number of permits issued would cause those permits to lose value.

Opponents argue that the end of the cap could lead to more taxi cabs on the roads and to more pollution, which they claim the city council failed to take into consideration.

On the other side, supporters of lifting the cap on taxi permits argue it will allow cab drivers to grow as small business owners, rather than to have to lease permits and cars from cab companies, or buy an existing permit for more than $100,000.

Local cab driver Umer Sheka said he supports the lift and has already applied for his permit.
“We’re not making money, you know. We have to pay gas. [This] is helping drivers a lot,” said Sheka.

He hopes the MTS will be able to process his permit next month. Of course, that all depends on the ruling Tuesday from Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Prager.

A group called the San Diego Taxi Drivers will hold a media briefing after the hearing in front of Superior Court in downtown San Diego to discuss why they want their own permits and why they oppose the cab companies’ lawsuit.

The intervening drivers are represented by the Institute for Justice

"We hope the judge will see the cab companies' lawsuit for what it is: a baseless attempt to preserve their monopoly and deny their drivers' right to earn an honest living," said Wesley Hottot, an attorney at the Institute for Justice (IJ) in a media release.

Contact Us