Stopped for Open Carry in Eugene, OR:
Good point, Allan. Among the proposals recommended by city staff is an increase in the taxi rates which the majority of cabdrivers oppose for reasons you've just described – they drive away customers. The city contends that the increase in rates will be necessary to offset the 35% loss of market share each driver will endure when those 132 new cabs hit the streets. This is yet another reason why the mayor's plans for the taxi industry fail to serve the community.
I'd like to clarify this sentence: "Since drivers are independent contractors, companies can legally pay them less than minimum wage..." This is misleading to the point of being untrue. Taxi drivers don't work for taxi companies and don't collect any wage at all. We make our money by collecting fares from passengers. Taxi companies make their money by charging drivers for taxi services such as car leasing, dispatch, and so on.
Once a taxi company collects its kitty from the driver, it has no vested interest in whether or not that driver prospers. The key to changing this dynamic is to assign taxi permits to drivers, not to taxi companies. This would force the companies to compete against one another for access to driver-controlled permits, and this competition would improve working conditions for drivers. The present system of allowing companies to monopolize permits creates a circumstance where the companies are making their money not by providing competitive taxi services, but by charging the drivers to access the permits.
We hope the transportation board and the mayor will soon give serious consideration to adopting a driver-controlled permitting system. To this end, I have sent a proposal to city staff at the Revenue Bureau in hopes that this idea can be fully examined and debated. The full proposal – known as the Prodan Legacy Permit proposal in memory of a recently deceased driver – should be posted on our website by the end of this week and can be viewed at www.cabdriversalliance.com. Hopefully it will also get an airing at the next transportation board meeting to be held at 1:30 on Feb. 22nd.
Portland Taxi Drivers' Representative
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