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At the Post, Tim Craig and Mike DeBonis note that some cab drivers aren’t terribly jazzed about the proposed changes—-higher fares, newer cabs, credit card machines—-to the taxicab system. A group crashed yesterday’s press conference about the plan to protest:
[Ward 3 councilmember Mary] Cheh, chairman of the transportation committee, said the public, including drivers, would have multiple opportunities to weigh in on the legislation. But as she described the details of the bill, one driver interrupted her, shouting, “I haven’t heard anything that is going to benefit me.”
The man, who complained the measure would make cab-driving a “minimum-wage job,” was later escorted out of the mayor’s briefing room. A few minutes later, another driver verbally sparred with [Vince] Gray after the mayor said he had previously met with drivers to discuss some of their concerns. “No, you didn’t, Vincent,” said Larry Frankel, an advocate for some D.C. taxi drivers.
“Don’t tell me what I did,” Gray responded.
After the briefing, Frankel told reporters that the legislation would cost drivers too much. “I don’t know of a single company that wants to put these instruments in [cabs] for free,” he said. “You are talking about close to $3,500 per cab.”
Drivers are also concerned that the new rules will lead to a de facto medallion system like the one in place in New York City.
Meanwhile, Gray is pushing legislation that would add a surcharge of up to 50 cents per ride to create a fund to help drivers pay for improvements to their cabs.
Photo by Wayan Vota via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 License