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Oakland breaking up Friendly Cab's monopoly this week

The City of Oakland is in the process of breaking up the monopoly long-held by Oakland's Friendly Cab. According to a source who did not wish to be named, last week on Friday, Oakland Police Officers took taxi medallions away from Yellow Cab cars owned by Friendly Cab. The source reports that the cabs will be offered to the public "sometime around January 25th."

According to the source, Surrender Singh, the owner of Friendly Cab, was making as much as $250,000 a week from operations; that's $12 million a year. But allegedly Friendly Cab was "abusive" to its drivers," said the source, who did not elaborate on the claim, "Something needed to be done."

Before the City of Oakland's action to end their monopoly, you had to go to Friendly Cab to lease a taxi and the cost is $65 per day. All of the expenses are paid by the driver.

Friendly Cab has 100 cars, so the 11 Yellow Cabs that will be lost should not be a large impact on its fleet. But it's not clear how far the City will go in stripping Friendly Cab's fleet. It's the beginning of the end of Friendly Cab's vice grip on Oakland's cab industry. The overall objective, according to an obscure sentence in the Oakland Wikipedia entry is "to increase the supply of taxis by increasing the number of taxi licenses."

The problem is cars are needed to cause this to happen; they will come from downsizing Friendly Cab's fleet.

Perhaps this will mean better overall cab service, more cabs operating all day and night as many Oaklanders have wanted, and an end to the kind of driver abuse this blogger suffered last year:



Stay tuned.
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