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Turns out L.A. doesn't want to hail a taxi

December 9, 2008 |  7:45 am

Hailing a taxi

The line at the taxi stand outside the Biltmore Hotel was six cabs deep Monday morning, even though there was space for only two cars. Sam Onumonu's car was the third one in line.

The stand, said Onumonu as he leaned forward in his seat, was packed for one simple reason: It's one of the easiest places for a driver to get a fare in downtown.

"There aren't too many people flagging us down," he said. "It happens only when there are people with young kids, or something going down. You're better off staying at the cab stand."

Five months ago, the city rescinded regulations that made it illegal for cabbies to pick up passengers in bus zones and red zones or along busy streets when no-parking regulations are in place. The change allowed cabbies in downtown and Hollywood to pick up fares without fear of getting ticketed -- even in no-stopping zones.

The idea was to bring a piece of New York urban life to Los Angeles' revitalizing urban core. But like so many things about New York, it turns out folks in L.A. didn't like it.

Officials said they are having a hard time persuading people to use the service -- and persuading drivers to leave the safe confine that is the hotel taxi stand.

Read the rest of the story here.

--Cara Mia DiMassa

Photo: Brian Vander Brug/Los Angeles Times