LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday approved recommendations from the Department of Transportation to update the city's taxi permitting system for the first time since the 1990s.

While Los Angeles currently operates under a franchise system, with agreements to nine taxi companies to operate cabs, the changes approved Tuesday switch the system to an open market, allowing anyone with a license, insurance, training, security checks and vehicle inspection to offer taxi service.

"Taxis are essential in Los Angeles. They ensure that people have a safe and reliable option to get around and can be a pathway for drivers to earn a decent, living wage," said LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds.

"The critical reforms approved today bring us into the 21st century, remove outdated regulations and modernize elements to make taxis competitive in a constantly evolving transportation market."

LADOT said the changes are designed to improve competitiveness of taxis as Angelenos look at different types of transportation. The changes, which were already approved by the Los Angeles Taxi Commission, include:

  • relaxing the requirements for vehicle appearance, including allowing vehicles to be any factory color
  • simplifying the process to become a taxi driver to make it easier for them to begin earning a living quickly
  • increasing fare transparency by switching to an up-front fare calculator, which LADOT said will also lower the chance that a driver overcharges and decrease accusations about overcharging
  • requiring taxis to digitally report trip data to LADOT through the Mobility Data Specification program.

The changes are subject to Mayor Eric Garcetti's approval. 


The Taxi Workers Association of Los Angeles opposed the change in public comment submitted to the City Council, asking for the City Council to delay eliminating the franchise system, saying it would be "unconscionable to move forward with an untested and unproven regulatory scheme without addressing vital driver concerns..."

The City Council approved the elimination of franchise agreements in 2019, but allowed an extension to give LADOT time to develop a permitting structure for future taxicab regulations.

The department added that the new guidelines were presented to the Taxicab Commission nine times for discussion and comment, and multiple industry roundtables were held to discuss the proposed changes.

The City Council also approved a motion by Councilman Mike Bonin instructing LADOT to report within three months on a Taxi Action Plan on how to promote the use of taxicabs and the existing taxicab subsidy programs.