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Downtown’s “Hail-a-Cab” Revisited

March 9, 2009

Cab, Downtown LAFor the longest time, it was technically illegal to hail taxis in Downtown LA. Then, last July, the ban was lifted for a year-long period. Later in the year, the plucky Downtown business improvement district launched its “hail a taxi” program, aimed at encouraging the taxi timid to hail cabs. The latest reports indicate that “there’s been a ‘relatively modest’ increase in the number of passengers hailing cabs”, enough to justify an extension to the year-long cab hailing program.

Will LA ever become a romantic cab-hailing metropolis? This program is a good start, but for cab-hopping to truly be integrated into the fabric of downtown (or the rest of the city for that matter) major changes will need to happen. Many of Downtown’s sidewalks and curbs make the logistics of hailing a cab difficult. And more importantly, demand is still relatively low for taxi trips. But with the influx of residents back into Downtown, demand for short trips between offices and residences, or residences and bars, may be good for cabs downtown. While only time will tell, this may be the beginning of a taxi renaissance.

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