Anyone waiting for their first ride with Missoula’s would-be eco-friendly hybrid car-based Green Taxi service may want to start looking for another ride.
The Montana Public Service Commission issued a “Proposed Order” Aug. 14 denying an application submitted by Green Taxi founder Michael Murray.
“[The decision] came in the mail and I turned to the last page, and there it was in big letters: denied,” Murray says. “The wind is out of my sails.”
All taxi services are regulated by the PSC, and new businesses must submit proposals to the commission and meet four criteria before they can begin service: a) demonstrate a public need for the service; b) prove that existing motor carriers cannot or will not meet the public need; c) be fit to perform the services proposed; and d) show that existing transportation services will not be harmed by the granting of a new license.
Murray was able to satisfy only the third criteria to the commission’s liking. The proposed order, which can be viewed online at the commission’s website, says that while Murray demonstrated a desire in Missoula for a taxi service employing hybrid vehicles, that need will be met when Yellow Cab puts its own hybrid on the road this year.
The commission also sided with claims by Yellow Cab that Green Taxi’s existence would force the company to lay drivers off.
“If [Yellow Cab] is on that shaky a ground, should they be the only service in town?” Murray asks.
Green Taxi’s fight isn’t over, however. The company has until Sept. 3 to submit a rebuttal to the commission’s proposed order. Then Yellow Cab will have 10 days to respond, at which time a decision will be made by the commission to either hear more arguments, or decide Green Taxi’s final fate.
Until then, Murray is left wondering why his business idea is so highly regulated.
“I don’t have to ask anyone to be a carpenter,” he says.