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Pr. George's Council Weighs Taxi Rules

After Prince George's cabdrivers threatened to strike over what they say are unfair working conditions, the County Council introduced a bill Tuesday that would give drivers more oversight over the local industry as well as crack down on drivers and companies violating regulations.

Drivers say a handful of companies hold the vast bulk of county-issued cab licenses, and overcharge drivers for use of the licenses.

Yesterday's proposed bill would make several amendments to current county laws regarding taxis, including requiring two members of the county's Taxicab Board -- the body that oversees the industry -- to be active independent cab drivers. It would also allow drivers to cruise the streets at National Harbor, require any company with 10 or more taxi certificates to keep 90 percent of its vehicles in working order, and give drivers an avenue to get an extension for renewing their license if an emergency prevents them from doing so on time.

Council Chairman Marilynn M. Bland (D-Clinton) also announced the formation of a task force to look at the issue -- a proposal that fell with a thud for several cabdrivers in attendance, who called for swift action, not more study.

Meanwhile, John Lally, a lawyer for Silver Cab, defended the current system in an interview with the Prince George's Gazette, saying that changing the process for licensing cabs "would be chaotic and destabilizing for all involved," and would result in poorer service for customers.

By Jonathan Mummolo  |  September 30, 2009; 2:56 PM ET
Categories:  Jonathan Mummolo , Prince George's County  
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