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Currently a joint airport board may license taxicabs that transport people to and from the airport. SB 530 would amend the Transportation Code section 22.081 to change the licensing of taxicabs, to licensing of "vehicles for hire." The purpose is to add licensing for hired vehicles other than taxicabs that transport people to and from the airport.
The second chamber sponsor is Representative Parker.
Because the existing statute allows the joint board for Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW) to only license taxicabs to transport people to and from the airport, new entrants to the hired ride industry are unable to legally fully participate in the DFW ground transportation market. SB 530 broadens the statute to allow the joint board to license and charge a fee for all "vehicles for hire" which will allow new entrants to the marketplace that are not taxicabs to legally operate at DFW. While this bill technically expands the regulatory authority of the joint board, it does so in a way that will expand competition in the DFW ground transportation industry. For this reason we support SB 530 on free market grounds.
Interested observers will note that this is a change from our original position of oppose. For further background on this issue and why we have revised our position see below.
New entrants to the hired ride industry in recent years have fought an uphill battle against regulations backed by existing legacy businesses within that industry. The traditional hired ride model has long been in need of updating, as demonstrated by the substantial market response to new and innovative competitors.
We have opposed industry backed legislation and municipal regulations designed to increase barriers to entry for new entrants to the hired ride industry. Our initial read on this bill was that it would further regulate the new players in the hired ride industry at DFW to the benefit of the existing players. After having looked more deeply at the background behind this legislation, and having learned more about the unique regulatory regime at DFW, it is our understanding that this is a very unusual case of expanding market opportunities through expanded regulation. While this is not our ideal solution, it is clearly preferable to the status quo with respect to ground transportation at DFW. This is the basis for our revised position.