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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

PTC scores legal victory in battle against luxury limos



The Public Transportation Commission cannot tell limo-hire operators how much they should charge customers but it can tell them how little they can charge, an appellate court recently ruled.

The Second District Court of Appeal sided with the Public Transportation Commission and affirmed a lower court ruling that the agency that regulates for-hire vehicles in Hillsborough County can enforce a minimum fare rule.

The PTC was sued in 2013 by Black Pearl Limousine and two of the firm’s customers who argued that a minimum fare was government overreach. It would prevent customers from bargaining for the best price and prevent drivers from making a living, the lawsuit states. At time the minimum fare for a rental of a limo was set at $50. It has since been lowered to $30.

PTC officials say that a minimum fare is needed to prevent limo drivers poaching business from taxicab firms. A three-judge panel upheld a lower court ruling without issuing an opinion meaning its decision cannot be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the limo operator by the Florida branch of the Institute for Justice, an Arlington, Va.-based public interest law firm with libertarian leanings that files lawsuits across the country challenging government actions and regulations.

“It should not be against the law to give customers a good deal,” said IJ Attorney Justin Pearson in a statement. “It is unfortunate the Court chose to disregard the Florida Constitution, but we take solace in the fact that the minimum fare rule has been reduced and appears destined for full repeal.”

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 14, 2016 5:37pm]


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