Aldermen propose sweeping changes to taxi cab rules in Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE - There was a different kind of traffic jam in downtown Milwaukee Friday.
More than a dozen taxi drivers held signs that proclaimed, "Taxi Freedom" outside City Hall, hoping to catch the attention of city aldermen.
"The city should let all drivers to be independent and do their own business," driver Shakuur Caawale told TODAY'S TMJ4. "To make a living here is very tough."
Some city leaders have noticed, and today Alderman Robert Bauman and Common Council President Michael Murphy introduced a proposal that give the green light to major changes to taxi rules in the city.
The proposed ordinance includes dropping the existing limit on the number of taxi cab permits issued by the city and enable mobile “rideshare” taxi services, like Uber and Lyft, to obtain permits and work legally in the city.
“We are dealing with new technology that has caused the marketplace to change dramatically,” Alderman Bauman said. “We need to respond to these changes in a way that allows innovation to thrive while providing for the health, safety and welfare of the public. We want to encourage more taxi usage in the city and ensure that visitors have safe and reliable taxi service, whether consumers chose traditional taxis or the new rideshare taxi services.”
Right now, only 420 taxis roam the streets legally they must affiliate with an approved company that handles dispatch and training duties.
The proposal right now sits in committee and will stay there until officials approve the draft.