Lottery Monday for 100 new city of Milw. taxi cab permits

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The drawing to determine which of the potential applicants may apply for 100 new city of Milwaukee taxi cab permits will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, March 17th at the Milwaukee Public Library’s Centennial Hall, 733 N. 8th St.

FOX6 News has learned the city of Milwaukee has received 1,707 "intent to apply" forms for the taxicab license lottery. By rule, individuals are allowed to submit up to two applications for a permit.

The addition of 100 new taxi cab permits to the city’s existing pool of 320 was among the reforms championed by Alderman Robert Bauman to increase the quality and quantity of cab service in the city.

In May of 2013, a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge issued an injunction preventing Milwaukee officials from denying taxicab permits to qualified drivers. This, after the Institute for Justice filed suit against the city in 2011 on behalf of three local taxicab drivers.

Legislation passed in November 2013 established the new system for taxi licensing, which includes more stringent requirements for taxi service quality and increases the limit on the number of cab licenses from 320 to 420.

The Wisconsin Association of Taxicab Owners has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Milwaukee -- in an attempt to stop the issuing of new permits.

Current owners of taxicab licenses say they don't feel there is enough demand for taxis in Milwaukee to necessitate an increase in licenses.

They also expressed concern that many of those looking to apply for licenses in Milwaukee would be coming from out-of-state -- from taxicab drivers looking for work after the taxicab caps were lifted in their state. FOX6 News has found that isn't the case.

Of the 1,707 "intent to apply" forms received by the city of Milwaukee for these 100 taxicab licenses, just 28 come from out-of-state.

FOX6 News has learned individuals from seven states have filled out "intent to apply" forms for the taxicab license lottery.

25 of the city’s taxicab owners, who own two-thirds of the licenses say raising the cap is unconstitutional because it devalues their business. Concern in this case comes from taxicab owners who are looking to sell their licenses, who worry the licenses will now be worthless.

The city of Milwaukee allows for taxicab licenses to be sold by taxicab drivers to other individuals, but taxicab drivers looking to do so must complete an application, and pay a fee that is around $250.

Taxicab licenses are said to go for between $100,000 to $150,000.

Owners of taxicab licenses say they want the city of Milwaukee to allow a study with an independent consulting agency to determine whether Milwaukee needs 100 more cabs.

Beyond the first 100 applicants, Monday's lottery will determine the order in which new permits are issued as they become available.

Potential taxi cab permit applicants are invited to attend the drawing in person on Monday. Those who qualify to apply in the first group of 100 will be notified by mail whether or not they are present.