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Santa Monica Reins in Its Cabs

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Back in March, the Santa Monica City Council held an emergency vote to stop new taxi drivers from operating, all part of an attempt to cap the cabbie explosion going on in the city (Santa Monica has more cabs per capita than anywhere else in LA, according to an older Lookout News story). There were also reports that the cabbies were rude to customers and worries the cars were "clogging up the streets," according to the News. Well, now Santa Monica is in the process of drafting a strict new licensing system for its cabs, reports the Santa Monica Daily Press, noting the new competitive bidding process will drastically change the free-for-all way cabs currently operate. Some cabs wanted a medallion system, similar to the system in New York and San Fransisco, but city officials said a medallion system poses problems in "enforcing service standards" so they are going with a licensing system that'll be based on bids. Everything sounds very strict! Tourists, you will no longer have any foul-mouthed cabbie stories to tell back home. Via the SMDP: "In order to even qualify for a franchise license, companies must meet a set of criteria, such as have a minimum fleet size of 25 vehicles, operate a centralized dispatching system, and have drivers who are proficient in English." Additionally, cabbies that are "local, use SULEV or other fuel-efficient cars and offer discounts to seniors and persons with mobility problems." [SMDP]