Quickly, and without much notice, the village Board of Trustees announced its decision in the longstanding appeal of Village Car Service to operate taxis in Rockville Centre. And, unsurprisingly, the village denied the appeal, meaning that All-Island Transportation will continue to have a monopoly on taxi service in the village.
The decision, while disappointing, is not a shock. The village dragged its feet in making a decision, drawing the process out over months. Village Car Service’s initial application was rejected by Village Administrator Keith Spadaro in January, after a two-year application process. VCS filed an appeal in May. It took the village three months to come back with its decision, although we believe that decision was made long ago.
That there was an announcement on Monday was unexpected. The matter was not on the agenda at the briefing session last Thursday, but was added to the agenda for the board meeting this week. That makes it seem like the trustees were trying to hide the fact that they were going to announce a decision on Monday.
We were in favor of allowing VCS to operate in the village — not because we’re fans of the company, but because we oppose the government-sanctioned monopoly the village created by not allowing a second taxi company.
Residents have a plethora of choices in Rockville Centre: there are many bars, restaurants, hair salons and nail parlors. Many of the goods and services offered by these establishments overlap, and consumers choose where they want to spend their money. That’s the way it works.
But residents do not have a choice of taxi services to get around in the village. There is no chance to get a lower fare with market-driven prices. If you don’t like All-Island Transportation, too bad. You don’t have a choice.
The decision is a disappointment and an embarrassment. We hope residents will petition the village and convince it to reverse its decision. But we won’t hold our breath.