Joe Jacobson successfully represented Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers in a case against the Metropolitan St. Louis Taxicab Commission concerning the scope of the Commission’s authority to regulate Dobbs’ operation of a courtesy shuttle service for its customers.
The Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis issued its declaratory judgment today holding that the Commission had no authority under the statutes creating it to regulate the shuttle service because Dobbs was not engaged in the business of transporting passengers in commerce. Rather, Dobbs was transporting customers without charge as a courtesy as an adjunct to its business of auto repairs and service.
Customer trips were limited to five miles from the Dobbs shop where the work was to be done. The trips were not on a schedule; there were no fixed stops; customers could use the service only if the shuttle were available; no fare was charged; and the drivers were just general employees of Dobbs — no one was hired to work as a customer shuttle driver.
The case was submitted to the court under stipulated facts agreed to between Dobbs and the Commission.
The case may have a wide impact throughout St. Louis with respect to other businesses that offer a courtesy shuttle to their customers under facts similar to those in the Dobbs case.