Santa Monica residents and visitors coming from or going to the Los Angeles International Airport will soon pay a maximum taxicab flat rate of $30 dollars south and $35 dollars north of the Santa Monica Freeway due to a resolution that was unanimously passed by the city Council Tuesday night.
On hand for the resolution were representatives of the . All had particular issue with the language on the agenda that indicated a “$35 maximum from any origination point in the City of Santa Monica.”
“We’re opening the door for possible unscrupulous drivers,” said Michael Canin, a manager at Bell Cab. He felt that implying a maximum rate would open the door for conniving drivers to offer running a meter instead of the maximum, an option that would likely cost more for a customer commuting from Santa Monica.
The exception would be for those close to the border with the city of Venice, residents or tourists who would actually be paying more for cab services as many of the franchises pointed out.
The city council, however, unanimously decided to keep the original language with the understanding that “maximum” gives leeway for further discounted rates if the taxicab franchise chooses to do so, but included a measure that would not allow for drivers to run the meter.
According to the Taxi Franchise Program Coordinator Salvador Valles, the city is not yet ready to issue penalties due to the program’s relative infancy. Valles expects to be up to speed with issuing penalties soon and figures that a reprimand and refund would be enforced against drivers and franchises that wrongly charge customers.
“There may be some complaints and there may be some problems but the benefit to the consumer, overall, in having these rates set at an appropriate rate far outweighs those limited cases when we’ll have complaints and problems,” said Mayor Richard Bloom.
Councilmember Robert Holbrook said residents could ask for a receipt to help enforce the resolution.