Changes to taxi industry tabled at Anchorage Assembly

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Anchorage Changes to the taxi industry in Anchorage were tabled after some passionate public comments by cab drivers. Following a small strike on Friday by the Anchorage Taxi Workers Alliance, the Anchorage assembly proposed an ordinance that it claimed would have relieved some of the undue burdens cab drivers are dealing with.

According to East Anchorage Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar the city was prepared to make small changes to reduce permit prices for drivers by as much as $200 or more on top of cutting back inspections. But taxi drivers who spoke at Tuesday's assembly meeting told city leaders the changes were not enough to help reduce their regulatory burden or help them better compete with ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft.

"This is a big problem and it's going to get worse and there is going to be a taxi strike of some kind we're just going to park the cabs at the opportune time and the city will see how bad the cabs are needed," said Bob Ransom, a cab driver Anchorage.

For nearly an hour drivers like Ransom told the Assembly that there was nothing the city could do to help them unless they put more regulations on Uber and Lyft along with eliminating permit fees for cabs. However, the Assembly repeatedly reminded the drivers that because of new laws signed by Governor Walker the city has no power to regulate ridesharing companies of any kind. Many who spoke also seemed to think that the city was proposing measures that were not listed in the Assembly Agenda like 'Surge Pricing' or adding additional fees to ride-share companies.

"I think it would help the industry and I would think you would want it to pass as soon as possible but what I am hearing tonight is some confusion about it so I'm fine with delaying it," said Dunbar.

There will be another open work session discussing changes to cab regulations on March 16th at 1:55 inside Anchorage City Hall on March 16th and a vote by the Assembly on March 20th.

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