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D.C. Taxi Drivers Deliver Letter To Mayor Gray Calling For Halt To Impoundments

Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - 10:12 AM

WAMU
Cabbies gather in D.C.'s Freedom Plaza to demand a meeting with Mayor Vincent Gray (Marti Di Caro/WAMU)

Cabbies rallied outside D.C.'s city hall Tuesday, demanding a meeting with Mayor Vincent Gray as they fight for more representation on the city's Taxicab Commission.

With the help of the Teamsters union, about 100 cab drivers walked into the Wilson Building to demand a response to their complaints from Mayor Gray. They're angry about a spate of recent regulations, including the one that spurred the rally: the requirement that cabbies install new dome lights on their taxis.

Tariku Bekele says he can't find a garage to perform the installation with the right equipment, so he's been out of work five days.

"So I don't know what to do," Bekele says.

In the letter they delivered at the Wilson building (pdf), the drivers called for:

  • An immediate halt to driver fines and taxicab impoundment over the new regulations until a fair resolution is reached between the city and the taxi drivers.
  • A subsidy or reimbursement to compensate the taxi operators for the unfair unilaterally imposed costs associated with the new regulations.
  • The appoint of a driver recommended by the Washington, D.C. Taxi Operators Association to the current vacancy on the D.C. Taxi Commission.

Teamsters spokesman Galen Munroe says the Gray administration agreed to talk to them. "And has said they are open to adding a driver to the DCTC."

But a spokesman for Mayor Vincent Gray says that, while willing to talk to the cabbies, he does not see any need to add another driver representative to the D.C. Taxicab Commission, which already has two driver reps on its nine-member board.

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