The Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission is under fire for creating a system which overcharges its citizens for limo and sedan services. Many limousine services wish to lower their prices, however they say the regulatory agency which oversees them will not allow them to do so. That is why a coalition of an entrepreneur and two consumers will join tomorrow with the Institute for Justice to sue the Public Transportation Commission in state court in Tampa under the Florida Constitution. They will hold a press conference tomorrow at the main entrance of the George E. Edgecomb Courthouse at 800 Twiggs Street in Tampa, Fla., at 10:30 a.m. to announce their lawsuit. The Institute for Justice will be accompanied by plaintiffs Tom Halsnik, a Hillsborough County limousine driver and Daniel Faubion, a limousine customer.
The commission mandates that limo and sedan drivers charge at least $50 per ride, no matter how short the ride. The drivers and customers are allowed to agree on a price above the minimum, but agreeing on a lower price is against the law. This law is blatant protectionism according to the Institute for Justice, which will file suit on Wednesday to challenge the commission’s regulations. IJ believes that consumers and entrepreneurs—and not the government—should decide for themselves how much a ride should cost, and that it is unconstitutional for the commission to force consumers to be overcharged and to harm small business owners by preventing them from growing their businesses and creating jobs by offering better values to their customers.
The Institute of Justice has a history of success in this area, freeing up markets around the country from unfair regulatory practices of local politicians.
In Palm Beach County, commissioners still have in place a moratorium and have added vast regulations in getting a new permit to operate a livery service hoping reduce the number of operators in the county through attrition. The regulation of livery services (vehicle for hire) in Palm Beach County is so micromanaged that a radio or cd player must not be playing unless the customer requests it.