"Hail that cab!" finally becomes L.A. reality

LOS ANGELES Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:12am EDT

1 of 4. A traffic jam is seen at the intersection of Victory and Laurel Cyn in north Hollywood, September 12, 2005.

Credit: Reuters/Gene Blevins

LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Hailing a taxicab on the streets of Los Angeles finally got the go-ahead on Wednesday, bringing the city into line with most major urban centers around the world.

Baffled tourists and frustrated residents of the city have long been restricted to phoning for cabs, or trying to find the odd taxi stand, because of city laws restricting casual passenger pickups on the street.

But the Los Angeles city council has now approved a six-month pilot program in the Downtown and Hollywood areas of Los Angeles that allow pedestrians to hail a passing taxi.

Council members said the program would particularly benefit tourists who are used to being able to hail a cab anywhere.

"Los Angeles, a major, global, world-class city, should not be an exception," said councilwoman Jan Perry, who proposed the program.

The proposal had been held up for months because of fears that taxis stopping for passengers would disrupt traffic in the city where the car is king.

Downtown residents were delighted. "This is great news! Another small step for Los Angeles towards becoming a real city," wrote Bartleight on the www.blogdowntown.com Web site on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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