FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Taxi Drivers Head to Superior Court to Defend Policy Victory to Lift Cap on Permits

April 27, 2015
For Immediate Release
Taxi Drivers Head to Superior Court to Defend Policy Victory to Lift Cap on Permits

San Diego, CA – On April 28th United Taxi Workers of San Diego will head to San Diego Superior Court to defend MTS and the City Council’s decision to lift the cap on taxi permits. The hearing will take place at 9a.m. at 330 W. Broadway in front of Judge Prager. The San Diego Transportation Association which includes various taxi permit holders filed a lawsuit to request that the California Superior Court review and reverse the City and MTS’s decision to lift the cap and are seeking damages for compensation from MTS for amending Ordinance 11.

On Tuesday April 14, 2015 an ex parte hearing was held to decide whether a temporary restraining order (TRO) should be granted to temporarily halt the MTS new permit process while it goes through litigation. The judge declined to rule on the issue and postponed his decision to take place on April 28, 2015 when he will also decide whether to grant a preliminary injunction that would permanently halt the MTS new permit process.

After years of taxi driver mobilization, public education and civic engagement by the United Taxi Workers, there is no question that the current state of the San Diego taxi industry is in dire need of reform. The increase of transportation‐apps such as Uber and Lyft shows that consumer demand exists for public transportation and is in fact increasing.

The current cap of 993 permits prevents competition from new and innovative services, while creating high profits for those with access to permits. The Taxicab Permitting Study by True North Research notes: “Indeed, profit-taking has occurred on a grand scale in San Diego’s
taxicab permit market.” In fact, permits have been traded for up to 45 times their original worth of $3,000 to upward of $140,000 on the grey market.

“By lifting the cap on taxi permits, experienced drivers with an intimate knowledge of San Diego and familiarity with the business of driving a taxi can now be rewarded for their positive customer service through a license to drive their own taxi. Rather than paying exorbitant lease
rates for outdated vehicles, drivers would be able to keep a larger proportion of their income to use on environmentally friendly low to no emission vehicles and other innovations that could benefit consumers under the proposed open permit system,” says UTWSD legal assistant Chris Morse.

These legitimate arguments motivated San Diego City Council and the MTS Board to decide that an open permit system would be in the best interests of San Diego residents and consumers. United Taxi Worker representatives will be available at the hearing to answer questions and to comment on the Judge’s ruling afterward.

Contact: Sarah Saez,, (774)392-0377

Founded in 2009, a core group of taxi drivers formed United Taxi Workers of San Diego to
advocate for more equitable and improved working conditions in the industry.