NEW ORLEANS - A temporary order blocking city mandated taxi cab reforms in New Orleans remains in effect at least for now.
Taxi cab owners and drivers are asking federal Judge Eldon Fallon to permanently stop the city from enforcing the new laws.
Tuesday, he listened to arguments from both sides and to testimony from city officials. At times questioning from plaintiffs' attorneys got a bit contentious.
The city wants the cab owners to raise their game before the big game, the Super Bowl is played in the Superdome next year.
James Garner, arguing on behalf of the city told the judge, "The city of New Orleans has to get into the 21st century...we are using the city's police powers to say we will have certain amenities for customers such as credit card machines and cameras in the cabs for better security."
Outside the courtroom, Monroe Coleman, owner of Coleman Cabs said right now many of his drivers cannot afford the new equipment mandated by the city.
"We need to continue to work under the conditions that we're working right now until we get some better conditions from the city so we can make certain improvements at a better specified time," said Coleman.
Deputy mayor for operations Michelle Thomas admitted on the witness stand many cabs are not in compliance with the new rules which were supposed to take effect August 1.
Jack Culotta who represents a group of owners predicts if the city gets its way, there will be less taxis on the street.
"She acknowledged that at least 50 percent of the taxis would not be running if these ordinances went into effect," said Culotta. "I contend that is going to hurt the citizens of our city and I think any normal, rational person would agree."
The new package of laws places an age limit on cabs.
It also prohibits owners from buying, selling or trading their CPNC permits.
Historically, owners have treated the cab permits as a property right, selling them when they retire and passing them down from generation to generation.
"That's what's happened for the last 50 years," said Culotta. "State courts have said that. State statutes we will argue allow for that and encourage that."
Plaintiffs' attorneys asked Judge Fallon for one or two days to file additional documents with the court after the hearing.
The judge agreed, but said he would like to rule on matter within the next week.