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Couldn’t hail a cab this morning? That’s probably because masses of D.C. cab drivers—-organizers said thousands, and that didn’t seem far off——were honking en masse to protest D.C. Council legislation that would allow ride-sharing services like UberX to operate legally in the District.
Video from DC cab protest on Pennsylvania Avenue https://t.co/51tQkgefWt— Perry Stein (@PerryStein) October 8, 2014
Organized by the Teamsters union, the cabs caravanned from East Potomac Park to Freedom Plaza, causing some traffic back-ups throughout the city. Even Ward 7 Councilmemeber Yvette Alexander got stuck in it.
Councilmember Alexander caught in traffic jam. "They should have done this yesterday." pic.twitter.com/mMNYBKCMVs— Matt Ackland (@mattackland_dc) October 8, 2014
Police were directing traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue NW and blocked the entrances onto the jammed avenue from both 14th and 13th streets NW, according to one officer on the scene. Officers were trying to keep traffic moving and reportedly cuffed one cab driver who exited his vehicle. The Metropolitan Police Department did not immediately have more information on the arrest, and a spokesman wasn’t sure whether the incident involved MPD or another agency.
Cops arresting driver pic.twitter.com/Ezx18H5aId— Matt Ackland (@mattackland_dc) October 8, 2014
The legislation that the drivers were protesting was introduced by Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh last week, and would regulate services like UberX and Lyft in the city. D.C. cabs have argued that the legislation doesn’t do nearly enough to level the playing field between the heavily regulated cabs and private ride-sharing services, which are typically cheaper than cabs.
Cheh told WUSA9 that the protest won’t do anything to change her legislation and, as one resident pointed out, the incessant horn honking and traffic jam could just turn some people away from cabs altogether.