Ken's Cabs gets permits to operate in capital city

Posted: May 17, 2017 at 3:14 a.m.

For the first time in almost two decades, more than one taxicab company can legally operate in Little Rock.

The city Board of Directors approved permits for Ken's Cabs in a 9-1 vote Tuesday night.

Owner Kenneth Leininger sued the city last year after being denied permits in 2015 based in part on a section of the city's transportation code that took into account how a new operator might affect the business of existing operators.

A Pulaski County circuit judge ruled that provision of the code was unconstitutional and said it allowed for a monopoly in the city. Little Rock didn't appeal the ruling.

Leininger reapplied for an operator's permit and sought seven vehicle permits this year. He operates a fleet of three hybrid vehicles, but he has plans to expand the company this year, he said.

Greater Little Rock Transportation Service LLC -- doing business as Yellow Cab -- has been the only taxi service to operate legally in the capital city since 2000, according to city records. Its owner, Houston Ellis, merged four transportation companies that were all working in Little Rock separately before then.

Leininger is a former Yellow Cab driver who broke away and formed his own company.

City Director Joan Adcock was the sole person to vote against issuing permits to Ken's Cabs. She has been critical of the company and the fact that it operated illegally in the city before being granted permits.

Adcock and other city directors have received campaign donations from Greater Little Rock Transportation Service in previous years.

Metro on 05/17/2017