Aspen dismisses case against driver of free taxi |

Aspen dismisses case against driver of free taxi

Wyatt Haupt Jr.
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado

ASPEN ” All it took was proof of insurance and a business license for the city of Aspen to drop its case against a local man who had been accused of illegally operating a free taxicab service.

“I think the city has been satisfied,” said cabbie Phil Sullivan, who had faced multiple counts.

Sullivan, 73, was set to appear in court Wednesday morning for allegedly operating the service without a business license. But the case was dropped Tuesday after he gave the city the necessary documents that allow him to legally operate.

The counts had ranged from operating without a business license to failure to pay the city’s occupation tax. The counts covered a period from “some portion of calendar years 2006 and 2007 and during 2008,” court documents show.

Aspen Assistant City Attorney Jim True said Tuesday all Sullivan needed to do was get licensed.

“This closes the matter with the city of Aspen,” he said. “I’m going to dismiss the case Wednesday.”

Sullivan’s troubles stemmed from a complaint filed by High Mountain Taxi Service of Aspen in 2006 with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

An administrative law judge later ruled Sullivan owed $12,100 in fines for violating the commission’s regulations. Sullivan said he has not had contact, of late, with the utilities commission about the issue.

“I don’t know,” he said.

The complaint also led to a summons being issued by the city of Aspen in spring of last year, which led to the January trial date.

In the meantime, Sullivan said he is pleased to be able to keep running his service. The cab, a white Kia passenger van, is generally on the streets of Aspen nightly from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.

“Sometimes later,” Sullivan said.

Passengers are not charged a fee for a ride home. But they typically give tips to Sullivan in exchange for the lift.

“I just take people home,” he said. “People who are getting off of work, or people who may have had too much to drink and they should not be driving. Most of them are locals. I try to cater to the locals.

“It’s my social life.”

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