Taking on Milwaukee's Taxi Cartel
Private companies cannot use governmental power to outlaw competition, yet this is what the city of Milwaukee does for its established taxi cartel. Milwaukee allows only 321 taxicabs on its streets—almost half of which are owned by a single owner. That is about one cab for every 1,850 residents, one of the highest ratios in the country. This cap on taxi permits has sent permit costs skyrocketing, from $85 to $150,000—putting the dream of owning a taxi business out of most people’s reach. Ghaleb Ibrahim is a Milwaukee entrepreneur who simply wants to own and drive his own taxicab. He has the means to operate safe and insured taxis, but the cap on the number of cabs means his dream cannot become a reality. For now if he wants to drive a cab he must do it for someone else at a hefty rental price. It does not have to be that way. Milwaukee’s taxicab cap violates Ghaleb’s right to earn a living, protected by Wisconsin’s Constitution. That’s why on September 27, 2011, Ghaleb and two fellow drivers teamed up with the Institute for Justice to file a major civil rights lawsuit in the Milwaukee County Courthouse against the city.
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