Originally posted by gunny:
With all the action that has happened in Tampa over the past 2 days regarding the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission(HCPTC), it is only fitting to start a new thread on this regulatory agency.
HCPTC Background - The HCPTC is the only regulatory agency of its type in the State of Florida whereas its powers are derived from a special act of the Florida Legislature. Hence, regulatory is set forth in State Law & not a local ordinance. Transportation services regardless of location & demographics must abide by the rules & directives of the HCPTC or face criminal charges. With Florida being a major draw for retiree's, the directives of the HCPTC includes airport transportation services located 50 - 100 miles from Tampa being forced to limit the offerings of luxury transportation to these retiree's at either a cost well below market value or at a pricing that will doom the business to failure. This policy of limitation to "luxury vehicles" has been confirmed to be strictly an attempt to protect a specific industry, the Tampa taxicabs. The only other alternative is for the transportation service to run 10 - 15 passenger vans/buses regardless of the passenger load. Prohibited from use are moderate priced sedans, minivans & hybrids that would allow the motor carrier to offer moderate priced transfers to the interstate traveler & allow the motor carrier to earn a decent profit.
Recent Events - Ndidi Osuji is a van operator in Tampa who leased his permit from a Certificate holder as many 1 vehicle operators do. Some months back he was parked by the Tampa cruise ship terminal & was approached by a family for transportation to the airport(?). This was observed by a HCPTC Inspector who intervened & told the folks that they must use a taxicab over the objections of the gent who wanted to use the van. Mr Osuji was given a citation for "solicitation" & he in turn contacted Attorney Luke Lirot to represent him in fighting the citation. Luke fought & won the case & as a result, the Certificate holder pulled the permit from Mr Osuji.
Mr Osuji, now unable to earn a living found another Certificate holder willing to lease a permit to Mr Osuji. This offer was pulled when the Certificate holder was contacted by the Executive Director of the HCPTC (Greg Cox) who, as reported & confirmed through interviews, was intimidated by Cox to pull the offer of leasing the permit.
Mr Osuji contacted myself through the FITA website & we discussed on numerous occasions, options with emphasis on contacting the media & moving on into the civil courts. Mr. Osuji contacted an invesigative reporter, Mike Deeson, who has been working with several members of FITA waiting for the right story to break & he jumped on Mr Osuji's story of civil rights violation of being "blackballed":
During the 8 August HCPTC meeting the VP of FITA, Haze Andreadakis, appeared before the board confirming this tactic was not an isolated case & demanding that the board takes action:
Based on the accusations of blackballing, concern of financials, a hostile work environment & other issues, Cox was suspended for 30 days & an investigation ordered.
Up Next - Tampa Denies Waiver For Prius (Hybrid)