Some friends of mine (who happen to be blind) endeavored to improve public transportation in Myrtle Beach by starting a taxi company. Mind you, they are both blind, and they now own and operate the biggest, and most versatile, transportation business in the city of Myrtle Beach with a fleet of something like 45 vehicles.
In fact, they have been so successful that they are “spanking” the competition, and the city of Myrtle Beach apparently doesn’t like it. A proposed ordinance, if passed by City Council, would legislate about 40 percent of this thriving company right out of the competitive market.
Here is why. If this ridiculous proposal passes, 15-passenger vans will no longer be able to serve customers looking for a taxi. The problem? Many of the vehicles owned by this blind couple are 15-passenger vans. The competition do not typically operate 15-passenger vans and are therefore unaffected. Thus, this ordinance is aimed specifically at the blind couple.
As a blind person myself, I am naturally interested in quality public transportation; and when I call for a taxi, I don’t care if they send a 15-passenger van or a traditional, four-door car as long as I get there safely and don’t have to wait too long. So, why does the city care?
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Obviously, the city of Myrtle Beach wants to help the poor, helpless, sighted competitors who are being outfoxed by the blind couple. But owning a Certificate of Public Convenience (or legal taxi business) does not entitle one to success.
But don’t worry, sighted competition, the city of Myrtle Beach is going all out to help. The solution? Fifteen-passenger vans cannot be taxis if this ordinance passes. Talk about government over-regulation.
In conclusion, the city seems to be less concerned about how long customers have to wait for service and more interested in crippling the business interests of a blind couple who started with one car, worked hard, used some ingenuity, and built a thriving company. I hope the council sees this ordinance for the fraud it is and votes it down.
The writer lives in Garden City Beach.