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Thursday, December 18, 2014
Allow competition in the Village of Rockville Centre

On May 13, the Village of Rockville Centre is set to decide whether to give Village Car Service a license to operate here.

This will actually be Village Car Service’s appeal. In January, the company’s application to operate a taxi service in the village was rejected by Village Administrator Keith Spadaro. Village Car Service appealed to the Board of Trustees to overturn Spadaro’s decision.

We think this is a no-brainer: Competition is healthy for the village and, if qualified for a license, Village Car Service should be allowed to operate in Rockville Centre.

A taxi service needs to be licensed by the village to operate within its boundaries. Other car services can pick customers up in the village and drop them off outside it, or vice versa, but they cannot both pick them up and drop them off in the village on a single fare.

Rockville Centre currently has one taxi service, All Island Taxi. If the village denies Village Car Service’s application, it will basically give All Island a monopoly on taxi service.

It makes no sense to us that the village should allow only one such service to operate within its boundaries. We’re sure that many businesses would love to have a monopoly, but there is more than one pizzeria in Rockville Centre and more than one hair salon, so why not more than one taxi service?

Competition inevitably widens customers’ options. As it stands, All Island charges the maximum-allowable fare of $5 per person for cab rides in the village. If it had a competitor that charged less — whether Village Car Service or a different company — All Island would likely have to price its rides competitively. Some healthy competition could force it to address complaints by purchasing new cars, keeping them clean, and having drivers be more courteous — all benefits for customers. As it stands now, All Island has no such motivation: Residents and LIRR riders can’t get a cab anywhere else.

No company should have a monopoly, especially one provided and sanctioned by elected officials. That’s not how the American system works. The only beneficiary of a denial of Village Car Service’s application would be All Island Taxi. The Board of Trustees should make it clear that the interests it is most concerned about are residents’ by overturning Spadaro’s decision and granting Village Car Service a license to operate in the village.

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