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Yellow Cab Suing Village Over Licenses Awarded to Checker Cab

Mayor: Village Acted Within Its Rights

Yellow Cab Company has filed a lawsuit against the Village of Farmingdale.

In a paid advertisement in this week’s Observer, Yellow Cab states, “In a lawsuit filed last week in the Nassau Supreme Court, Yellow Cab charges that after it won the right to be the exclusive taxi service for the Village by offering the lowest fares in the competitive bid, the Village ‘arbitrarily and capriciously’ awarded the losing bidder-the Checker Cab Co.-the right to compete against Yellow.”

Yellow Cab Corp. has been the sole taxi company licensed to operate its taxis in the Village of Farmingdale for the past 30 years.

In the spring of this year, the Village accepted requests for proposals from taxi companies with Yellow Cab winning the bid.

After receiving proposals from taxi companies, former Village Clerk Dave Smollet said the Yellow Cab’s RFP was the lowest bid, beating out L.I. Checker Cab Co.

Yellow Cab retained the 14 licenses they already had with the Village as the Village decided the remaining six licenses that were available would not be awarded to any company.

As reported in an August 7 article in the Observer, regarding the remaining six licenses, Mayor Starkie had said, “Yellow Cab has 14 of those 20 licenses. That’s all we really need right now. It’s only a one-square mile village.”

On Nov. 10, Yellow Cab Corp. submitted a written request to the Village, asking for more licenses for its taxis. The Village responded with a letter stating that at the Nov. 2 meeting, the Board of Trustees had awarded the remaining six licenses to Checker Cab Co.

When the Observer asked why the Village changed its mind about the six licenses, Mayor Starkie issued the following statement:

“It was made very clear from counsel to Yellow Cab the night the Board voted to issue the 14 licenses that we always had a right to issue additional licenses to another cab company. Our statute is clear on what the Board can and can’t do. We are a Board of five, Mayor and four Trustees, it was determined by the Board that it would be in the Village’s best interest to issue the additional six licenses to Checker with the understanding that the new much lower rates would apply to Checker also. Not only did the Village save $7,500 per year that we were paying for our senior citizens program to Yellow for many years, we now have Checker offering free rides to our senior citizens on certain days of the week.

“People must understand that before Checker approached the Village for a license our residents were paying Yellow much higher rates. There was no effort on the part of Yellow to reduce these rates on their own. Thus, the competition of Checker is what helped drive the prices for our residents down. We are pleased with this. As long as both companies respect the right of the other to exist and do business in our Village, we will support them.”

“The Board and I are here to serve the residents of Farmingdale and get the best deal from any vendor doing business in the Village. We have done our job we were elected to do. We are in litigation with Yellow Cab and under the advice of Counsel we will have no additional comments on this matter at this time.”