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Federal Trade Commission staff submitted written comments regarding certain proposed changes to Anchorage, Alaska’s regulatory framework for passenger vehicle transportation services, such as taxicab, sedan, and limousine services, in response to a request by Anchorage Assembly Member Debbie Ossiander.

A proposed ordinance would allow additional entrants into taxicab services through 2022, after which there would be no limits on how many taxicabs could operate in Anchorage.  FTC staff strongly supports eliminating restrictions on the number of vehicles that may provide taxicab service by 2022, or sooner, if practical, because additional entrants will generate consumer benefits and encourage competition.

The staff comments also recommend that, in markets with open entry, rates regarding passenger vehicle transportation services should generally be set by competitive forces and disclosed in a truthful and non-deceptive manner.

In addition, the comments suggest that the Assembly may want to consider additional steps to modernize its regulatory framework to respond to the development of smartphone software applications that provide consumers with new means of arranging for passenger vehicle transportation services and other new services.

The Commission vote approving the comments was 4-0.  (FTC File No. V130003; the staff contact is Christopher Grengs, Office of Policy Planning, 202-326-2612).

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