NASHVILLE, Tenn. — WSMV.com, an NBC affiliate in Nashville, reports that the city’s Metro Transportation Licensing Commission is facing scrutiny for alleged price-fixing and will be taken to jury trial in three weeks, as ordered by Federal Judge Kevin Sharp.
This situation began when Ali Bokhari, owner of Metro Livery, began charging taxicab prices for airport transfers in chauffeured vehicles. By 2010, he had 30 cars charging $25 for airport transfers. Then the Metro Transportation Licensing Commission stepped in and set a minimum rate of $45 for car service from the airport.
Bokhari suffered financial losses from this event and is down to 15 cars.
The Institute for Justice in Washington, D.C., sued the city of Nashville on behalf of Metro Livery and other discount car services, accusing the city of unconstitutional price fixing.
Metro Nashville says it's just trying to protect its customers and ensure safe, reliable service.
"Because of problems with illegal taxi services, we want to make sure we differentiate the services between taxi cabs and livery services. We can use one or two measures — one is strict prearrangement, and another is minimum rate,” said Brian McQuistion, with the Metro Transportation Licensing Commission.
Federal judge Sharp called the city’s alleged price fixing "fishy" and said it will be for the jury to determine whether enactment of the ordinance passes the "smell test."
The case goes to trial in three weeks. If victorious, Metro Livery will return to its $25 airport rate.
Read the original report from WSMV.com here: Metro faces allegations of limiting competitive prices