Taxi Plates

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fowgre avatarIt’s no secret that the current monopoly situation which exists in London restricting the number of available taxi license plates is a very contentious one. Making the problem worse is the black market which exists, in which taxi operators must lease the plates (owned by others) at greatly inflated prices, in order to scratch out a living.

In a letter dated 2007/09/17, Councillor S. Orser asked that the city administration “investigate and request at the provincial level, the lawful authority under the Municipal Act, to increase the per annum fee of taxi plates that are leased out on the open market and/or lease them directly to persons wishing to operate a taxi.01

In a report to yesterday’s meeting of the Environment and Transportation Committee, two city solicitors offered the following response:

The authority to charge licensing fees is now found in Part XII of the Municipal Act, 2001 and in particular sections 390-394 inclusive. In addition to the statutory requirements, common law has limited licensing fees by requiring that there be a nexus between the amount of the fee and the municipality’s costs. Further, it is well established at common law that fees must be reasonable…A by-law purporting costs as suggested by Councillor Orser would clearly offend all of the basic common law principles for licensing fees. Such by-law would not withstand any legal challenge and would most certainly be declared invalid and quashed. In addition, the city would risk exposure to an award of costs against it in any such litigation.01

End the monopoly. Take the cap off the number of taxi plates issued by the city. Let the market work it out.

Sources:
01. 2008/09/08 – City London: ETC Agenda item #7

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