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City officials sideline planned minimum taxi fare from Bob Hope Airport

Commission doesn't have the authority to enforce minimum fare, says attorney.

September 20, 2011|By Jason Wells and Mark Kellam jason.wells@latimes.com, mark.kellam@latimes.com

Burbank officials on Tuesday said a new $15.50 minimum taxicab fare from Bob Hope Airport will not take effect on Friday as planned.

In a statement, Senior Assistant City Atty. Richard Morillo said the Burbank Traffic Commission lacked the authority to approve the minimum fare for taxi passengers at the airport because only the City Council held the power to amend current city codes.

The minimum fare was approved after taxicab companies complained that they were losing money on short hops to and from the airfield. Many passengers, drivers said, park in nearby retail parking lots or on city streets and then take a short taxi trip to the airport.

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According to G&S — one of three companies that serve the airport, including Tri City and United Taxi of the Southwest — of their 130 taxis, 76 are dedicated to the airport. United doesn’t assign taxis exclusively to the airport, according to the city.

G&S and Tri City service about 114,000 taxi trips that originate from the airport each year, compared with 109,000 annual trips generated in Burbank from outside the airport.

The $15.50 charge would have penciled out to a 4.75-mile trip under the current fare structure, according to a city report, but it would have applied to any taxi ride from Bob Hope Airport within that range of distance.

“We would like it to be clear that we are not saying it is beyond the city’s authority to allow minimum taxicab fares to be charged in Burbank,” Morillo said in the statement. “Our conclusion is based solely on our view that a minimum fare is not allowed under the taxicab ordinance as currently written.”

The matter was not scheduled for City Council review on Tuesday.

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