Since we are at the midway point of November, I thought this would be an important topic to bring up as the holidays quickly approach.
Chances are most of us will use a taxi cab or taxi cab-like service in the next two months or so.
It’s a time to celebrate the holidays, spend time with friends and family, attend parties and give thanks an appreciation for all we have.
It’s also a time to be safe, and one Atlanta taxicab company owner wants Atlantans and those all over Georgia to know he cares and his company has cared for over 70 years.
Some would say Rick Hewatt, President of Atlanta Checker Cab is fighting a war, but Hewatt says he likes to think of it as educating the public on what the difference is between using his, or a number of other local Atlanta cab companies and using an app like Uber of Lyft for local travel.
This will all become a lot more transparent in 2015 when the Georgia General Assembly tackles all that is involved with Georgia House Bill 1830.
Hewatt, a small business owner says he isn’t threatened or scared by competition, he’s about promoting safety and asking for an “even playing field.”
“(House Bill 1830) is about why public safety and a fair playing field is so important to the ground transportation system in Atlanta,” explains Hewatt.
He points out three points that everyone who uses a taxicab service or ride sharing app should consider.
1) Proper insurance
2)Proper vetting of drivers
3)Proper vehicle Inspection
4) Surge pricing
Hewatt said his company and industry are strictly regulated and a rider will know what he or she is being charged when they get in a cab.
He says the ride sharing apps have been regulating themselves, but the cities and municipalities are now catching on.
In this recent article in Tampa Bay Times, Hillsborough County officials finally determined that Uber operates as a taxi and transportation company.
Hewatt says his drivers and company has to abide by all the typical regulations, permits and licensing, and Bill 1830 will address this and also the unfair sales tax system that is currently in play.
“The sales tax system needs to be fixed,” adds Hewatt. Uber and Lyft pay nothing, while taxi and limos are forced to pay a sales tax on service!”
Again Hewatt wants everyone to coexist and abide by the same rules.
As the holidays and 2015 quickly approach, it’s something to consider, and Hewatt asks that you let your state legislators know you support this bill and safe drivers and transportation in Atlanta and all over the state of Georgia.
Have a safe holiday season.