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VOL. 37 | NO. 5 | Friday, February 01, 2013

Nashville adding taxis for convention center open

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NASHVILLE (AP) - Hailing a taxi in Nashville is about to get easier.

The commission that regulates the city cab industry voted Thursday to add 110 additional vehicles to the streets.

The transportation licensing commission approved three new taxi companies, including one being formed by immigrants from Somalia.

As the new Music City Center convention venue prepares to open in May, the taxi fleet will have grown from 645 permitted vehicles to 755.

"I think it's inevitable that we're going to have demand for more taxis," said Commissioner Tom Turner, who also serves as president of the nonprofit Downtown Partnership.

Turner said the number of taxi permits is now closer to comparable cities such as Austin, Texas and St. Louis.

The newly approved cabs are required to begin operating within 120 days.

"We'll be opening as soon as possible," a grinning Yusuf Awmohamoud, CEO of Tenn-Cab told The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/WHANsI). His company is authorized to begin with 35 vehicles.

Tenn-Cab will join Volunteer Taxi, an Ethiopian-led company as Nashville's only driver-owned companies. Volunteer Taxi was approved in August.

The commission denied additional permits sought by five other existing cab operators.

Yellow Cab did not request additional permits, saying more cabs on the streets will hurt business for both the companies and the drivers.