Cab Company Owner Alleges Greenville City Manager Unfairly Shutting Him Out of Market

City Manager James Bourey denied a Columbus based taxi business entrance into the Greenville market claiming that the “down economy” in Greenville made it impossible for Greenville to “support” a second cab company within the city. Bourey refused to give business owner Otman Benouis the needed Certificate of Necessity for him to operate his company in Greenville, in essence preempting the free market and deciding what the people of Greenville would or would not be willing to support.

Benouis says the decision is driven by Bourey protecting local Greenville company Yellow Cab. From WYFF:

Benouis said he hoped to expand his American VIP Cab to Greenville and already had a lease on an office on Congaree Road and approval from the zoning board to establish his business.

He said when he sought a certificate of necessity from the city and the state, his request was denied by city manager Jim Bourey, who replied in a letter that, “due to the current economy, I do not feel that the city should support an additional taxi cab company at this time.”

Benouis said his company has plenty of customers, including those who call for a cab from Greenville. He said he couldn’t understand why Greenville would reject his business.

“If you do it legally, you have a right to have a business wherever you want,” he said.

According to Benouis, the decision on whether Greenville’s economy can handle his business should be made by the customers and not the city. He accused a local taxi cab business owner of pressuring the city to turn down his request.

Benouis says Bourey is being “pressured” which seems like a nice way of saying Bourey is in the pocket of Yellow Cab owner John Bacot. Bacot denies “pressuring” Bourey but has admitted to sending a letter that implied expanding the service in the area would flood the streets with unsafe drivers.

In reality it would flood Greenville’s coffers with tax money, and bring more money into local businesses as new drivers purchase gas, food and Benouis pays extravagant office rent. In other words it would help the “down” economy in Greenville to have a new business move in. Any city manager worth his salt would know that but Bourey, who has years of experience and two Masters, doesn’t seem to grasp basic capitalism. Or does he?

I think the people of Greenville deserve a an explanation as to why Bourey thinks a company willing to rent office space, buy gas, and support our local economy shouldn’t be allowed to do business here.

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