• Jon Sperry.
Last week, my news lead on the working conditions of Portland’s roughly 900 cab drivers concluded: If you’re a Portland cabbie the best place to work is the employee-owned Radio Cab.

Since Publishing the piece, an anonymous Radio Cab driver has come forward to say the city’s “rosy” assessment of the working conditions at his company aren’t all that.

Among the complaints raised by the driver is the city’s estimation that the average Radio Cab kitty—a cabbie’s weekly payment to his company for services like dispatch—is actually much higher than the city’s estimate of $245. The drivers says the average Radio Cab kitty is about $550 a week, comparable to the $500 average the Revenue Bureau estimated was paid by drivers at the city’s other five cab companies.

But here’s the thing.

Another driver who spoke with the Mercury—who asked to remain anonymous—says the $100 a day lease is for drivers, like himself, who are not employee owners, which he estimates is about half of Radio Cab’s workforce. Employee-owners, he said, pay $200 a week. Of course, he said, unlike other companies, he doesn’t have to pay his kitty on the days we doesn’t work.

So the anonymous radio cab driver that wrote in is probably right: some Radio Cab drivers could in fact pay as large a kitty as the other companies in town.

Read the full letter after the break.

Note: In his letter the driver refers to Broadway Cab, which also owns Sassy’s Cab, as “Brand X,” saying the company’s control of 40 percent of the city’s permits is “scandalous” given the services they provide.

Dear Editor,

We Radio drivers do indeed have it better than our brothers at Brands W, X, Y, and Z.

But this is entirely due to the marketing and administrative support we get from management, plus the goodwill built up from having the same ownership and management structure since Radio's founding in 1947.

The financials for us Radio drivers are not as rosy as depicted in your article.

The daily lease on a Radio cab is $100.

A driver working an average of the quoted 5.5 days per week would be paying a $550/week kitty, similar to the kitty paid by Brand X.

But we get infinitely more marketing and administrative support from Radio.

The fact that Brand X possesses 40% of all the cab licenses in this city is scandalous, when all they do is service out-of-towners via the airport and the hotel stands.

These licenses are the city's point of leverage and they should be used to make Brand X be a full-service taxicab company, taking the little old ladies home from the grocery store, the way we do.

And not coincidentally, make them treat their drivers like other than indentured servants.

Shame on the city.


A Radio Cab Driver