Tampa, Fla.—Today, Tampa’s limo and sedan drivers are one step closer to vindicating their right to economic liberty, when a judge denied the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission’s motion to dismiss a challenge to its rule that limo and sedan drivers charge at least $50 per ride, no matter how short the ride.
This ruling by Judge Charles E. Bergmann of the 13th Judicial Circuit in and for Hillsborough County is part of a legal challenge filed in August 2013 by a Tampa limo driver, his small business and two consumers and the Institute for Justice. The limo driver and small limo business want to offer cheaper deals and better values to customers. The customers want to accept these offers.
But the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission, which was created by the Florida Legislature, ironically, to protect transportation consumers in Hillsborough County, stands in the way. It is the only commission of its kind in the entire state of Florida. Not surprisingly, it has passed burdensome regulations and restrictions not common in other places. And these restrictions include requiring limo and sedan drivers to overcharge their customers.
One of the rules specifically mandates that limo and sedan drivers charge at least $50 per ride, no matter how short the ride. The drivers and customers are allowed to agree on a price above the minimum, but agreeing on a lower price is against the law.
The Institute for Justice is representing Thomas Halsnik, Black Pearl Limousine, Kenrick Gleckler and Daniel Faubion. The defendants in this case are the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission and its chairman, Victor Crist, in his official capacity. The commission is responsible for enacting and enforcing the minimum limousine-fare rule.