Differences Put Aside to Fight Ride-Sharing
DALLAS (CN) - With Uber and Lyft bringing their ride-sharing services into the Dallas-Fort Worth market, small taxicab operators abruptly dropped their antitrust lawsuit against two Fort Worth men who control 75 percent of legal cabs in the area.
The Association of Taxicab Operators USA and the operators of Starcab, United Cab, Alamo Cab and Ambassador Cab Co., among others, filed a federal complaint in November 2012 against Jack Bewley, Jeff Finkle, Executive Cab Co., Taxi Dallas and Golden Cab.
The parties agreed last month to end hostilities as the city of Dallas ponders how to regulate Uber, Lyft and other driver-for-hire services that compete against all of the taxi providers.
U.S. District Judge David Godbey granted the plaintiffs' motion for voluntary dismissal Monday.
Kelly Hollingsworth, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday his clients have now "worked somewhat constructively with Jack Bewley on the proposals for how to deal" with Uber and Lyft.
Hollingsworth said Tuesday it does not make sense for his clients to go after the ride-sharers and the defendants at the same time, especially when interests with the other cab operators are aligned.
"World peace happens when the enemy comes out of the sky," he told the Morning News.
Godbey dismissed the suit without prejudice, opening the door for another suit in the future.
The original complaint had alleged that Bewley and Finkle had "dominant" control of cabs in the area, using a monopoly to engage in predatory price fixing of stand fees since 2007.
"The $300 per month DFW Only Stand Fee charged by defendants is below the average increased costs incurred by defendants for insurance alone on each additional taxicab authorized and serviced," the complaint stated. "Other marginal costs, such as decals, airport usage fees, marginal dispatch costs and the like, make the disparity between pricing and costs even more imbalanced."
A Dallas moratorium on the addition of new holders in 2003 also prevented new competitors from entering the market, the smaller cabs claimed.
They Said Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport enacted a similar ban in 2009.
"As long as the moratoriums remain in effect, any consolidation among the limited number of holders causes a permanent reduction in competition that as a practical matter, cannot be offset by new market entries," the complaint stated.
The effect of this in the stand-fee market is that any time the defendants make available a taxi with DFW Airport-only authority, one of the plaintiffs loses a taxicab operator, according to the complaint.
Uber and Lyft face lawsuits from taxi companies in other cities..
United Independent Taxi Drivers and United Taxi of the South West sued both companies in Los Angeles this past July. They claim that unlicensed or nonpermitted drivers for both companies use GPS-enabled smartphone applications to provide illegal taxi services.