Why cabdrivers opposed Mayor Fenty
By Ken Williams
I read with dismay the story on the role of the taxicab industry in the mayoral election [“Cabbies rally to drive home a Gray win,” Metro, Sept. 15]. It is unfair to say that drivers opposed Adrian M. Fenty and supported Vincent C. Gray because drivers resented the switch from a zone to a meter system. They have embraced the new system because it reduces confusion and conflicts with passengers. Drivers opposed Mr. Fenty for five primary reasons:
- The Fenty administration has denied them fair representation on the Taxicab Commission, which governs their livelihoods. Neither active operators nor ardent advocates for them are on the commission.
- The administration set the meter mileage rate at the lowest in the country, forcing many drivers to work 12-hour days.
- The administration shut down the Taxicab Commission for eight months, precisely when the commission had unanimously decided to raise the fares to reach parity with those in surrounding counties.
- The administration refuses to address persistent issues of what drivers feel is harassment and abuse through excessive ticketing and towing by the city’s taxi hack inspectors.
- The administration continues to claim broad, unilateral authority over the cab industry under what it calls “the Levin Act” (it’s really a clause in another law), even though meters have been fully implemented. Our group contends that the administration is in flagrant violation of local statutes, the Home Rule Act and the constitutional and human rights of the drivers.
Finally, I am concerned about the continued framing of this issue by the media and political establishment in ways that appear intended to be dismissive of drivers because of their national origin and place of residence.
The writer is a member of Justice for D.C. Taxis.
| September 19, 2010; 9:19 PM ET
Categories: D.C., D.C. politics, HotTopic
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