SF Taxi Drivers Accuse the City’s Limos of Stealing Fares

Posted on September 19, 2007 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Taxicab drivers operating in San Francisco are accusing the city’s limousine drivers of stealing fares by bribing hotel doormen.

Cab drivers said they will gather at hotels across the city to distribute literature and hold protest signs decrying what they characterize as a corrupt disregard of state law by limousine drivers and hotel doormen.

Mark Gruberg, spokesman for the Public Utilities Commission, said limousine drivers in San Francisco routinely collaborate with doormen, to whom they pay kickbacks in exchange for the doormen steering customers to limousines.

The loss of taxicab revenue, especially on rides to San Francisco International Airport could be in the millions on busy weekends, Gruberg said. Because of the difference in licensing requirements — cab drivers must go through a four-day training and a police background check, while limousine drivers need not. Gruberg said it is unfair to allow limousines to operate in the same way as taxis.

The protest comes on the heels of an announcement that San Francisco will issue 50 new taxicab medallions in the next few months, increasing the size of the city’s taxi fleet.

“Every time you put more cabs on the street, it’s going to have some effect on demand,” Gruberg said as he stood in front of the Hilton hotel in downtown San Francisco. He said with the extra cabs coming, and unfair competition from limousine drivers, experienced cabbies may be squeezed out of business.

SOURCE: Denver Examiner

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