The City-County government's been licensing cabs since Day One and prior to that, the former city government did it, too. It was all about keeping us safe, right? Oh, sure there was a nice, fat fee, but the cab operator received Official Documents and all was right with the world, no?
...Not so fast. Here's the money quote, from Adam Collins, Esq., licensing administrator for the city's Code Department: "By aligning the city's licensing function with an inspection and enforcement arm for the first time, the city will be able to hold cab drivers more accountable." [emphasis mine]. Yep. Ipse dixit, mind you; maybe they've had some rules and some sort of enforcement thereof all along, but it certainly sounds as if it's been a straight-up swap of money for Official-Looking Paper since they first started makin' hack-drivers get a special permission slip. (Yet when Uncle Ned did the very same thing, on the very same paper and in matching type, they said it was wrong and made him go stamp out license plates).*
But it's all better now; why, we've even got a "Passenger Bill Of Rights," complete with assurances that we're entitled to a clean ride, no matter our hue, faith, accent, crutches or twitch or who we're makin' out with, and no extra miles, even; drivers have even gotta have a local version of The Knowledge, though there doesn't look to be an official exam thereof.
Alas, 'tis all in vain. We may be right out of of the taxi-riding biz; there's a poison pill in Article Six that's doomed the entire enterprise: not only does the driver have to know the city, he's required to speak English.
Sigh. There they go, the whole lot of them. That's a whole lotta people with chauffeur's licenses to throw out of work at once.
But hey, shiny-new goofy fake Bill of Rights! Wowie!
* He must have failed. We still have license plates.
4 months ago