Let the taxis roll! In November 2015, a San Diego judge handed IJ another transportation victory when he ruled that the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) could abolish a 30-year-old cap on the number of taxi permits in the city. A group of established cab companies had sued, claiming that MTS needed to do a pointless environmental study—and pay them millions of dollars—before it could issue a single new taxi permit. The case threatened to put a freeze on transportation freedom in San Diego, but with IJ’s help, anyone can now own a taxi.
IJ intervened in the case on behalf of longtime San Diego taxi drivers Abdi Abdisalan and Abdullahi Hassan. Abdi and Abdullahi had wanted for years to start their own cab businesses but were stymied by the permit cap; due to the artificial shortage of permits, they had to pay hundreds of dollars every week in lease fees to existing permit holders. In April, we helped MTS defeat a motion that could have reinstated the permit cap. That ruling allowed MTS to issue new permits. As a result, Abdi and Abdullahi now own their own businesses. Although IJ expects the taxi companies to appeal the judge’s most recent ruling, they will face long odds to have it overturned.
The ruling lets taxi drivers and riders—not government bureaucrats—decide the number of cabs on the road. Over the last 20 years, IJ has vindicated that principle in cities across the U.S., and we are now proud to add San Diego to that growing list.
No one should have to lease the right to earn an honest living.