In the wake of recent high-profile complaints about the New Orleans Taxi Bureau, one suggestion has been for New Orleans to emulate New York’s system for regulating taxi cabs by creating a new taxi/limousine commission and adopting a medallion system. In my view, this is a monumentally bad idea.
An impetus for this proposed change is related to complaints against the New Orleans Taxi Bureau and its chief, Malachi Hull, including an incident I wrote about previously when a Taxi Bureau inspector, Wilton “Big Will” Joiner, slammed a tour guide in the side of a parked car full view of a crowd of appalled tourists. This was troubling because Taxi Bureau investigators aren’t peace officers; they lack authority to detain or arrest anybody.
It’s clear that the Taxi Bureau is ill-managed and corrupt, and institutional changes certainly shouldn’t be rejected out of hand. However, New York’s supposed “reforms” are not something New Orleans should replicate.