Cap is lifted, and City Clerk says there's a demand for taxi cab licenses: 328 applications processed

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Milwaukee Common Council voted unanimously to lift the cap on the number of taxi cab licenses issued in the city, and last Tuesday, September 2nd was the first day folks could apply for a license. City Clerk Jim Owczarski says there has been high demand -- with a total of 328 new public passenger vehicle applications processed between Tuesday and Friday.

Owczarski says the action by the Common Council in July to lift cap on the number of permits issued – and to allow individuals to apply for provisional permission to begin operating the day of their application – has caused excitement and a large influx of applicants in the city's License Division.

“Frankly, we are excited as the response and the sheer number of applicants shows the market is ready to embrace what the Common Council has in mind,” Owczarski said.

According to the License Division, between 8:15 a.m. Tuesday, September 2nd and the close of business on Friday, September 5th, a total of 328 new public passenger vehicle applications were processed (170 metered taxis and 158 network vehicles).

In addition, the division processed 176 new driver applications, 137 provisional 60-day business licenses, and 128 provisional 60-day individual licenses.

A provisional business license allows a new vehicle to operate immediately and the provisional individual license allows a driver to operate while their application is being processed.

The License Division of the City Clerk’s Office will open at 10 a.m. on Thursday, September 11 and Friday, September 12th to allow staff to process a high volume of applications from individuals seeking a public passenger vehicle permit to operate a taxi in Milwaukee.

Additionally, until further notice the division will not process new public passenger vehicle permit applications after 4 p.m. because of the work required to turn around a provisional permit while the applicant is waiting (in person).

The division normally opens at 8:15 a.m., Monday – Friday.

On a unanimous vote, the Milwaukee Common Council passed legislation July 22nd that did away with the cab cap and created a more streamlined application process, allowing drivers to sign an affidavit affirming their record is clean and receive a provisional permit immediately upon their application.

The legislation will allow network companies like Uber and Lyft to operate legally, and Alderman Robert Bauman, who as chair of the Public Transportation Review Board helped author the legislation, has said it creates a level playing field for all drivers while ensuring the safety and comfort of passengers.