Assembly member proposes overhaul of Anchorage taxi industry

An Anchorage Assembly member has introduced a bill that could radically reshape the taxi cab industry in Alaska’s largest city.

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Fiscal conservative Bill Evans, who represents south Anchorage, is pushing a measure which would nearly double the number of cabs over the next five years, adding 116 new cars to the fleet, including 16 wheel-chair accessible vehicles. After those five years, there’d no longer be a fixed number of cab permits within the municipality, and Evans compared the application process to getting a fishing license: anyone eligible can apply.

The goal of the ordinance is to make the taxi industry more competitive and improve service to customers, according to Evans. Many residents in the further partsĀ of the municipality like Eagle River and south Anchorage complained publicly two years ago about the scarcity and expense of cabs when the startup company Uber was trying to establish a presence.

The measure has a long way to go after it is officially introduced Tuesday, and Evans expects it to attract fierce resistance from the taxi industry in the months ahead.

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Zachariah Hughes reports on city & state politics, arts & culture, drugs, and military affairs in Anchorage and South Central Alaska. @ZachHughesAK About Zachariah