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Taxi Drivers Accuse County of Racism

by Katie Pyzyk | November 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm | 5,992 views | 133 Comments

(Updated at 4:45 p.m.) Disgruntled Arlington cab drivers staged a protest on Monday (November 26), ahead of the County Board’s expected Tuesday vote on granting more taxi certificates. The drivers are accusing the county of racism.

Members of Arlington United Taxi Operators (AUTO) and Tenants and Workers United (TWU) took part in the protest, which was staged to highlight claims of unfair labor practices by Arlington cab companies and to show that drivers’ human rights had been violated based on their national origin.

ARLnow.com requested details regarding examples of human rights violations, but did not receive information about specific incidents. Instead, a TWU representative said the basics included “ad hoc firings, arbitrary changing of working conditions, and the fact that drivers are being bound to a single company.”

“Nearly every single cab driver is an immigrant in Arlington, most are from Africa,” added Wesley Aten, Interim Executive Director for Tenants and Workers United.

AUTO and TWU also issued a press release yesterday stating the intent of several drivers to speak out at last night’s County Board meeting. The release said, “It is a racist system that looks the other way as long as white customers and a white monopoly company benefit.”

The groups provided what they call “reasonable and fair suggested adjustments” to the county’s taxi code. In a joint memo to the Board members, AUTO and TWU wrote the following:

“It is not in the public’s best interest to expand the reach of an already dysfunctional taxicab system that makes cabdrivers part of the working poor… Arlington County has created a taxicab system which — among many other important flaws — forces many cabdrivers to work as many as 13 hours a day, 7 days a week just to make livable earnings because some cab companies use mandatory operating fees to take as much as $14,000 of each driver’s annual earnings for themselves.

The irony in all of this is that a work week that commonly exceeds 60 hours produces exhausted cabdrivers. In turn, tired drivers decrease rider safety.

Yet, despite these facts, under your direction the Board will not let cabdrivers and riders have a public conversation or debate over the existing structure of the industry. Your choice to silence the people on this very important issue is not in line with ‘the Arlington way’ and we are deeply disappointed that you have chosen to protect a system that forces nearly 800 cabdrivers to work for poverty-level earnings.”

They assert that County Board Chair Mary Hynes refused to adequately review their proposed amendments to the taxi code and would not hold a public hearing on practices within the taxi industry. Hynes refuted the claim at Tuesday’s Board meeting, saying the conversation has not ended.

“We are not willing to change the ordinance in the way in which you suggested we do it,” Hynes said. “While I absolutely agree we have not resolved the issues that you raise about how many hours people drive or the impacts of that, or any of that, nor do I think we should think those are off the table.”

Hynes said she met with the group of concerned drivers at least three times between April and October. She said other Board members also met with the drivers, indicating the drivers’ statements about not having access to Board members was inaccurate.

“There was no inability to talk to Board members, all of that happened,” Hynes said.

Hynes further elaborated in a written statement:

“Since AUTO submitted its proposed changes in July 2012 to the County’s taxi cab ordinance, County Board Members and County staff have held numerous meetings with AUTO leaders. After giving the proposal serious consideration, the County Board ultimately decided against a rewrite of the taxi ordinance. Although a vote to not move forward is not required, I decided to have the County Board discuss this decision in public and take a public vote, which we did in October. This request for ordinance changes is not unique. Every year, the County Board receives 10-20 requests from individuals and groups seeking various County ordinance changes. Moving forward on any one of these requests always requires three or more members’ support for the potential change.”

In addition to addressing the proposed changes to the county taxi code, the drivers’ groups requested that Board members deny a plan to allow 55 additional taxis to operate in Arlington, as recommended by county staff. Of particular discussion during Tuesday’s meeting was whether or not to approve certificates for Arlington-based start-up EV Taxicabs.

Last month, County Manager Barbara Donnellan recommended that EV receive permits to operate 40 cabs, which would be all-electric and include free WiFi and iPads for passenger use.

As the taxi discussion stretched in excess of two hours and the meeting inched toward 2:00 a.m., Board members decided to carry over the discussion and vote on taxi related items at the December meeting.

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  • Quoth the Raven

    Not sure where the alleged racism is here.

    • bum

      I guess if you build a company primarily out of immigrants from one area and the company doesn’t get it’s way it can be seen as racist?

      • Arlington cabs

        I wonder what the statistics really are. At least in my anecdotal experience (I take cabs (usually Red Top or Envirocab) several times a week and haven’t had that many drivers of African origin. The last few I’ve had have been Iranian, Pakistani, and Iraqi.

    • Dude Where’s My Car

      it’s just modern-day sharecropping. with people of color doing all the hard work. what could be racist about that?

      • drax

        Um, the fact that it’s completely voluntary and open to any race doesn’t make a bit of difference to you?

        • Greg

          Let’s not let facts get in the way of a rally cry.

    • Patrick

      Well I didn’t see any racism in the attempt to build HOT lanes on I 395 in Arlington but that didn’t stop these same board members from making the accusation. I think it is great that the CB is getting a little taste of it’s own medicine.

      • drax

        Good point. Though I don’t think the county accused anyone of racism in that suit, it just claimed that the HOT lanes hurt minorities, regardless of whether that was the intent.

        • WL95

          No, they actually claimed that it provided the primarily Caucasian citizens of the far out suburbs with preferential means to commute. It was race-baiting with a large heaping of class warfare on the side.

    • drax

      A classic case of playing the race card.

    • bereasonable

      Drivers that know what they are doing do work long hours but in fact can make upwards of 40K to 60K a year.

  • MrMeow

    ohhhhh, the proverbial liberals in a panty bind. First, the throwing the race card when you don’t get what you want. Second, the board wil be like “but we’re liberals, we can’t be racist!”. Laughs for the rest of us.

    • Swag

      If the drivers were liberals, wouldn’t they be unionized and striking right now?

      • drax

        Striking against whom? They aren’t employed by the county.

      • Josh S

        I don’t know what being liberal has to do with it, but yeah, this situation strikes me as being ripe for a strike. It’s your employer that has far more immediate power to make your life easier, mr taxi driver, not the county board.

  • Yep

    When you don’t have an argument just yell racism!

    • mrMeow

      Well, they just need to watch Chris Matthews to learn how to do that. I get from that if you don’t support Susan Rice, but you voted for Colin Power and Condoleeza Rice as secretary of state, that you hate women and blacks.

      • Chris Mathews

        I never said that Steve. Please stop making ridiculous stuff up.

    • b

      pretty much what it sounds like…. and in terms of racism, taxi drivers practice it more than most. as a white guy have noticed the following preference on a regular basis, more so in dc, but still true in arlington….

      white girl > white guy > asian > anyone else but > black people.

  • outoftowner

    I’m sure there will be a rate hike coming out of this somehow.

  • Andy

    The taxi drivers are giving Arlington a dose of it’s own measure. Arlington files suit about HOT lanes arguing, in part, that they are racist because the monetary element disproportionally impacts minorities.

    Now taxi drivers say that because taxi drivers are almost all minorities, not giving them their demands is racist.

    I don’t agree but you have to admit, it is pretty amusing to use the county’s logic against them!

    • Thes

      In both cases, there is a worthwhile distinction to be made between having racist motivations and having racially-disparate impact. In neither case is an accusation of racist motivations likely to have been accurate, but in both cases, there may indeed be a racially-disparate impact deserving of increased scrutiny.

    • Mikey

      Agreed. The only thing that would make it even better is if the drivers sue the board members personally, just like the County personally sued the federal civil servant who approved the HOT lanes project, accusing him of racism.

      • drax

        Again, the suit didn’t accuse anyone of racism, just having the effect of racism. They didn’t say it was deliberate. (Not saying I agree).

  • Captain_Obvious

    The only human rights violations that occur are with the passengers of these horrible taxi drivers.

    • CW

      ^^This…crimes against humanity…

  • Huh?

    I’m totally confused. “Nearly every single cab driver is an immigrant in Arlington, most are from Africa.” Does that mean non-immigrants are claiming that the taxi system is racist against them? Or is it that every disciplinary action is taken against an immigrant (because nearly every single cab driver is one), and therefore (by some strange logic) that constitutes racism?

    I’m further confused because their proposed changes to the taxi code have more to do with making a living wage rather than they do with racism.

    What exactly is the issue?

    • TaxiInsider

      They want the code changed to allow “driver freedom” They say they are stuck to one company and thats not fair. In reality they can work for any company they want, provided that the company has enough county authorized positions.

      The drivers want control of that authorization and the ability to take their position at any one company to any other. They want to do this so that they could move with their friends to the lowest priced company like hess cab. Did you know there was a hess cab? Hess cab charges less per week because they have no office, no credit card system, and no dispatch.

      The mass movement would destroy dispatch and full service companies because they would not have enough driver dues payments to maintain their call centers, credit card system, corporate account services, and wheelchair/medical transportation

      • Chuck

        Many years ago, friends and co-workers use to work part time at Checker, Yellow and Red Top cabs. Stand dues (included the rental of a cab, insurance, radio dispatch, etc) were charged to the driver for the use of the cab. The driver was also charged for the gas he used upon return to the garage. If memory serves me right, there were only a limited number of taxi driver certificates (Face) allotted to each company, based on X number per licensed taxi, and the taxi company had to “sponsor” the driver before a Face would be issued. This ensured that the driver had passed the Hacker test, and was properly insured through the cab company. Basically, they were sub-contract labor using the company equipment, dispatch, resources, and insurance.

  • Jason

    Didn’t know that people who doesn’t know how to drive safely is considered a race also.

  • Mary-Austin

    So it sounds like these folks want the DC system where anyone can put a taxi sign on top of a hoopty and call it a taxi.
    That’s not the Arlington way and there’s nothing racist about it.

    • Greg

      I don’t think you can do that in DC anymore. Pretty sure Fenty put a stop to it.

    • Chuck

      AMEN!

  • KalashniKEV

    1) I thought telling the citizens to go stuff it and doing what the Board wants is “the Arlington Way?”
    2) What’s a Taxi Cab Certificate and why do we have them?

  • Mike Honcho

    I don’t feel sorry for any of these drivers. Every time I get in a cab, driven by an immigrant driver, he/she has never heard of the address or location I identify as my destination. Nine times our of ten they stare at you until you give them directions, while the Garmin on the dash collects dust. I’m gonna start charging for my navigational skills. Racism??? They’re getting off easy, because they are not from the US. Maybe they need the carpet pulled from under them.

    • Brian

      And then they yap on their cell phone in some foreign languagge, paying little attention to the road

      • drax

        You mean they’re teenagers?

        • Captain_Obvious

          no, soccer-mom SUV drivers

    • KathyInArlingtonVA

      Mike Honcho, you must be one unlucky fellow. Over the years, I have taken many taxi rides with immigrant drivers and have found them to be very friendly, courteous, knowledgeable, and good drivers.

      • outoftowner

        how long have you worked at RedTop Kathy?

        • KathyInArlingtonVA

          I don’t work for RedTop. Am currently in my 16th year at a DC law firm (staff position).

    • Greg

      100% agree. I have asked several Arlington cab drivers why none of them know where ANYTHING is, even things 1 metro stop away. They say “oh, well, most of us have only been driving for a few years. DC drivers have been driving for a long time. I could honestly do a better job with getting from Point A to Point B than 80% of Arlington cab drivers.

    • SamW

      You’re lucky that you actually get a cab to pick you up. Two years in a row, we have called two different cab companies to get a ride to local holiday party and, two years in a row, neither of them have showed up. I’d be happy to give you my money, thus increasing your salary, but that would require you to provide the requested service.

    • ARM

      I’ve used RedTop very often over the years and have only had 2 or 3 bad drivers. Overwhelmingly, they’ve been knowledgeable of the area.

      I’ve also found them to be friendly. I rode with one particular driver so often that he invited me to his daughter’s wedding!

  • RaceCard

    *yawn*

    • Overused Cliche

      Want to play ??

  • Mick Way

    Wait a sec. AUTO want AC to deny permits for 55 more cabs? So who else here has waited an hour+ for a cab on a Friday night?

    • Sid

      Yeah seriously… or god forbid you try to pay with a credit card. Then you have to listen to them huff and puff about it. I once had a driver go on a 45 minute rant because I tried to use a credit card… He went on and on about how it takes like a week for him to get his money and they charge him too much to use it. These people are a pain in the ass.

      • SomeGuy

        Wow. You stuck around for 45 minutes to listen to that?

        • Sid

          Wow. You don’t get sarcasm.

  • Neighbor

    I think the Board should change the ordinance to require that drivers cannot drive for more than 6 hours per day + must take four 15-minute breaks outside of their car + have an hour for lunch. That’ll teach ‘em to bitch!

    • KathyInArlingtonVA

      Dear “Neighbor” — I think it would be nice if your and your family members’ employers allow all of you to work only 6 hours a day. You will probably like that since you think it’s an appropriate policy for some other workers. Try living the Arlington lifestyle on that.

  • Autopilot

    I cant wait for the day when all cars are automated and we can all “drive” hammered. Hopefully the extinction of the cab driver will be sooner than later.

    • BlindDriver

      +.08

  • Disconnected

    None of the comments on here are about CEO pay, or the danger of overworked drivers, or how anybody benefits from seeing members of their community straddle the poverty line because the fees to run their cabs is so damned high.

    I would be surprised to learn that any of the above commenters earn less than $50k or is anything other than white.

    Red Top Executive Sedan Service in Arlington, VA is a private company which is listed under limousine service. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $5 to 10 million and employs a staff of 50 to 99.

    • Well

      I’ve actually asked a number of cab drivers what they make a year, and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them has said $100k+. So much for your less than $50k theory.

      • Josh S

        ?
        Perhaps they misunderstood and thought you meant how much to they take in a year? But how much does the cab company keep and how much does the cabbie keep?

        • Walker

          When somebody asks you what you make, how do you answer that question?

          • Patrick

            It’s complicated.

          • Josh S

            What’s your explanation? Do you believe that the majority of taxi drivers make over $100K a year? Or was this just an amazing coincidence of a sample?

      • Hmm.

        I highly doubt that cab drivers here are making $100k+

        http://swz.salary.com/SalaryWizard/Taxi-Driver-Salary-Details-Washington-DC.aspx

        • Herman

          pfft, bartenders around here are making close to that. You would be amazed.

          • SomeGuy

            Enlighten us please.

          • Herman

            I just did.

          • Hmm.

            Again, I’m doubtful.

            And apparently in the wrong profession!

          • Greg

            Bartenders in a busy bar absolutely make $100,000. I know a few. One of them worked part-time Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night and made over $100,000. That’s on top of their full-time job.

          • drax

            Sorry, Greg, that’s not credible without some kind of evidence.

          • Westover

            you jelly?

          • Hmm.

            What bar?

          • CW

            I’m going to fall on Herman’s side. I have personally known wait staff at not-super-nice and not-ridiculously-busy restaurants in the R-B corridor who pull down $200 or more a shift. And they don’t make anywhere near what bartenders do. Even at the fratty places, like whitlows, the bartenders are getting 50 cents or a dollar every time someone places an order. Yes, they tip out to the back of house and maybe pool with other bartenders but that is a lot of dollars.

          • drax

            http://swz.salary.com/SalaryWizard/Bartender-Salary-Details-Arlington-VA.aspx

            Median salary of a bartender in Arlington: $19K. 90th percentile is $33K.

            VERY unlikely that a bartender could get to $100K.

            Sure, there’s always one or two. But so what? That doesn’t describe the reality for most people in that profession.

          • WLO

            That website is way off. First, for my professional job, it was off by 57%. Second, “salary” is a meaningless term when talking about the bar and restaurant business.

        • Well

          I’m just going by what they told me.

          • drax

            There’s your problem.

          • Morello

            Now you’re under control

      • Well No

        I work with a lot of cab drivers and how much they make depends on a number of factors, but I have yet to see any driver net 50k in a year.

        • Well

          I guess we’ll agree to disagree. Maybe the cab drivers I talked to were lying. Who knows. I don’t really care anyway.

        • Stitch_Jones

          If they make 50K for a job that incorporates so little skill, then they are doing well. In reality they are no more skilled than a 20 year-old American driver. Why should they make a high wage for a completely simple and easy to master occupation?

          Skills needed as a cab driver:
          1. Obtain a driver’s license and be able to drive a car. Teenagers can do this.
          2. Know how to get to named destinations. Many times they need assistance from the passenger so this is not even a necessary component.

          Walmart workers deal with more occupational challenges than the typical cab driver. They are not getting much sympathy from me, although I am always polite to them and tip well.

          As for racism, that is nonsense as it always is in these cases. More likely that AUTO does not want more cabs and cab companies allowed to operate in their market. They know that screaming “Racism!” gets them attention. In this case, I am glad the ACB is not indulging them.

          • Josh S

            I don’t quibble with your analysis, but I think it does contain a base assumption that what Walmart workers make is acceptable. I think that is disputable.

      • drax

        Come on.

        The media wage for a cab driver in Washington DC is $37K according to the source below (look – actual reliable facts from comprehensive sources!)

        Maybe a few reach $100k, but not likely many. Even if you asked “a number” of them.

        http://www.simplyhired.com/a/salary/search/q-CAB+DRIVER/l-Washington,+DC

        • Josh S

          Thus my speculation that the cab drivers misunderstood the question. Perhaps $100K in fares is collected by them, but it seems that they keep only a fraction of that. Thus, they don’t “make” $100K in the way that you and I would think of.

          • drax

            One of several reasons why asking a few cabbies how much they make is not a good way to find out how much cabbies make.

        • nom de guerre

          And perhaps like bartenders and other professions, cab drivers don’t declare 100% of their tips for tax purposes.

    • Quoth the Raven

      And why should we comment on CEO pay? They’re not complaining, are they? Last time I checked, if you own a company, you can pretty much pay yourself whatever you like.

      And for the record, I’m not white. Thanks for your concern.

      • BRian K

        The executives at Hostess gave themselves bonuses just a few days before they declared bankruptcy.

    • Crazy talk

      I would be concerned if cab drivers made more than $50k. We need low paying jobs to keep this economy working. How much do you think cab rides would costs if these guys were pulling in 6 figures. I hope cab drivers don’t get into the business because they expect to make a ton of money. I love how people in traditionally low paying jobs complain about their marginal salaries.

      • KathyInArlingtonVA

        Crazy talk — why should you be concerned if others make more than $50K? I would be willing to bet that you make much more than that and would be more than annoyed if someone made that same comment about your salary.

        • Greg

          How much should a job that requires no education and a minimal understanding of the English language pay? I’m a capitalist through and through, and I can’t imagine an efficient market that results in many people with those characteristics making more than $50,000.

          • Josh S

            What does it work out to per hour, though? Including tips.

    • Helping Hand

      As a white person, I find your comment offensive and borderline racist. I doubt you would ever write something like “I would be surprised to learn that any of the above commenters earn more than $50k or [are] anything other than black.” If you wouldn’t write that, then you shouldn’t have written would you did.

    • Brian K

      Driving cabs is a low skill profession. It requires no investment in education or training. As long as they make a livable wage, I am unconcerned.

      I don’t particularly care for Red Top, but get a clue.

      • Josh S

        I think you may have hit the nail on the head. “Livable wage.” What is that? Does the average cabbie come close?

    • Chuck

      Yep…Neil has done real well. Isn’t that the old fashioned American Way?

  • Josh S

    It seems apparent that working as a cabbie is a pretty terrible job – low pay for long hours. Maybe there is something the county can do, maybe not. But accusing them of racism as the process goes on? Not a terribly savvy move. It seems to me you’d want to be gaining the public’s support in your fight against the cab companies that pay the low wages in the first place…..

    • Brian K

      Terrible job? Driving around all day? Let’s not go overboard. It’s a job that requires no skills, has extremely flexible hours, and is not strenuous or stressful.

      • drax

        Well, not NO skills. And “flexible” is a nice euphamism for working the night shift. Strenuous or stressful? Debatable.

        • Brian K

          What skills do they need? having a driver’s license?

          It is flexible. Talk to cab drivers about it.

          • drax

            Not NO skills. Few though.

  • mrmeow

    Why aren’t 50% of cab drivers women? Why is there a gender taxi driver gap?

    • Gertrude Stein

      Sexism!

  • Paul

    My guess is when he said he makes 100k a year that is before all of his expenses. Think about it. I am sure they make 50$/hr from fares but then they have to pay for all their gas/maintenance as well as fees to the company etc.

  • MissKittenCat

    did they start the throw up charge fee in taxi’s yet?

    • Suzy

      Yes, it’s $2 per hurl and 10 cents per kernel of corn.

  • bobbytiger

    Surely the cab drivers must be mistaken. This IS Arlington County after all.

  • Patrick

    The CB of the People’s Republic of Arlington being accused of racism by hard working immigrants?

    This is just too perfect.

    • Poetic

      ” The smallest worm will turn being trodden on”

  • Woogie

    Am I the only person that thinks the cab drivers in this area are awful? They can’t drive worth crap, and shouldn’t be demanding anything. They need some NYC training.

  • Right of Center

    Hmmm. Will commissioning street trolleys be considered racist?

  • John Lee

    i read this blog,, nice one but still i wants to introduce a new facility for the people,taxi cab, i also have an experience of this, i can’t explain this in words if you want to make your journey more easily and comfortable than visit this,
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    • Nigerian Prince

      … says Spammy McSpammerstein

  • HolyPeristalsisBatman

    Liberal on liberal catfight — meeeooow.

  • James Smith

    This is yet another example of a county government and county departments which consider themselves unaccountable to the public.

    Arlington is very strong on violating individual rights in support of common good except when they are the individual happens to be the county, e.g. I-66 widening.

  • Roger Mexico

    Geez, this has become insane.

    Just scrap all the taxicab regs as they are now and in their place put in basic regs that control things like the safety of the vehicles and the consumer information located inside the vehicle. Also use those regs to require driver competence w/ a taxidrivers exam or something and a look at the applicant’s driving history.

    Allow the cabs to charge whatever they want, but require that the price be prominently displayed, perhaps in the cab window before entering.

    Then, for a small administrative fee to run the program, license anyone who so desires to become a cabdriver if they meet the basic safety, background, and exam requirements.

    This would go a long way in solving the whole issue. No monopolies or people crying racism. Individual taxidrivers or taxi companies would compete on price and build a brand around themselves (i.e. I seek out Company X’s cabs because I know they’re always priced fairly and have clean/safe cabs).

    Too many people want to put their hand into the moneypot and too many people who are able to currently drive cabs want to use regulation (as opposed to price/service) to stay in business. It’s sick.

    • malaka

      what a complete load of rubbish. Let them charge whatever they like? so you have no idea how much when you try and flag one down?….oh no that’s too much I’ll flag another one down….. Individual taxi drivers so you can never call a number to have one sent to your house…

      • drax

        I think it’s a good idea – just require them to post their fares on a big lighted sign on top. They could change according to the market at the time. There could be a maximum fare set by law. It would work like the HOT lanes.

        Of course, letting them charge LOW fares means alot of cabs will simply give up because they can’t make money competing against the low-fare cabbies, and that won’t help with service.

      • Roger Mexico

        Think what you’re saying through to its logical conclusion. And consider reading the whole post (especially the part about taxi companies). ;p

        • drax

          Okay, I did.

          Now what?

          Don’t be lazy, Roger, tell me what you think of my idea.

          • Roger Mexico

            Comment was directed at malaka. Yours is a good idea. Light up signs to display the fares. I mentioned displaying the fare prominently on the cab, but a light up sign on top is a good implementation of this.

          • drax

            Sorry, Roger.

    • No sorry

      That’s how it is in the Virgin Islands. Sucks. Super sketchy. Doesn’t work sorry.

      • Electric

        Yeah, and the VI is basically a third world hellhole. While that isn’t too different than Arlington, Arlington would still be better for something like that. Same way universal healthcare won’t work in the US because there are too many freeriders at the bottom but it works amazingly well in Sweden, where the population is homogeneous.

        • Josh S

          “homogenous?” What, pray tell, are you getting at?

          • Zing

            Euphemism for hardworking

        • drax

          Homogenous, eh? How does that help? How does that prevent freeriders at the bottom?

          • Roger Mexico

            Large population of people at the bottom that take and take and take without ever putting back into the system (U.S.) versus large group in the middle that both takes and puts in with a much smaller percentage of freeriders at the bottom that only take (Sweden).

      • Josh S

        Actually, I believe it’s like that in many other parts of the world. “Super sketchy”, is, of course, a relative term. If you’re used to New York City uniformity, for example, then having drivers come up to you on the street and start pulling you toward their van may seem uncomfortable. But you get used to it and it eventually just becomes part of life. And leaving aside the issue of whether you find it “sketchy” or not, it does work. People get from place A to place B on a regular basis.
        The major tradeoff seems to be in the area of safety and when the tire blows out as you’re doing 60 going down the highway, you may pretty quickly long for the medallions, zone-based fare systems and the rest.
        However, in Virginia, you’d still have every vehicle required to go through its annual safety inspection, so perhaps that wouldn’t be as much of an issue.
        In general, though, it would seem to me that a free-for-all system for such a commodity product would inevitably lead to a race to the bottom in terms of pricing and that would almost certainly result in compromises to safety or comfort or other areas that customers value.
        So, it seems to me that if you start with a “let’s do away with all these regulations” point of view, but then you start adding back the “but let’s regulate for safety” and “let’s regulate for max and min fares” etc, you pretty much end up back where we are today. Which, really, shouldn’t be too surprising.

        • dk (not DK)

          ^^^Smart Man^^^

        • drax

          You don’t end up back where we are today though, because we also have “let’s regulate entry into the market.” Today, no matter how safe or what fares you want to charge, you still can’t drive a cab unless you have permission from the government. Regulating safety or other standards and regulating markets are different.

          • Roger Mexico

            Yep, exactly.

            The process should be more like, do you want to be a licensed taxicab driver:

            *Do you have a valid DL?
            *Has your vehicle been safety inspected in the past six months?
            *Is your record free of any [defined list of dangerous violations - DUIs, reckless driving, speeding over 15mph, felonies, etc.]
            *Did you pay the $10 administrative fee?

            Then *BAM* you have a taxi drivers license providing you continue to meet the above requirements and agree to abide by the applicable laws (signage on the vehicle, etc.).

            It SHOULD NOT involve groups of people trying to keep other people from becoming cabdrivers via govt regulations or paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a “medallion” because the number of licenses is so limited.

  • bereasonable

    Fact is that good taxi drivers do work long hours. They are independent contractors who actually work for themselves. The good ones can make from 45K to 60K a year which is hardly poverty. These complaints are coming from the fringe, there are many great full immigrants who are happy to be able to make a living driving a taxi cab. No one forces these drivers to do anything.

  • Andrew

    “In turn, tired drivers decrease rider safety.” As if talking on their cell phones and cutting off other drivers do not.

  • Tax Man

    No cab driver will declare income of more then 20k year when it comes to taxes while they make between $200 to $300 cash a day !!! If you have not paid your fair share of the taxes, then please stop crying and find yourself another job where your income is reported to the IRS just like every hard working individual.

    On top, why are you guys? I am already paying for your healthcare, childcare, wife care, house care. Do you now want me to pay for your car care also ?

  • Jack

    I like that Arlnow “asked for details.” Like the people who work here are actually journalists, not just lackeys who repeat whatever nonsense the Board spews.

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