Updated 11/01/2012 10:42 AM
Taxi drivers oppose new city permits
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Driving a taxi is a tough job, and representatives of the Taxi Drivers Association of Austin say the city is making their job harder.
"You got to work a lot of hours,” Tadele Gebremedhin said. “You've got to drive like a day, like 16, maybe 17 hours."
The Austin City Council decided to add 45 new taxi permits this summer, and the city’s transportation department has since calculated the new taxis’ impact.
"Total fares went up by one percent,” Gordon Derr with the Austin Transportation Department said. “So, there were six percent more permits available on the street."
Austin decides how many taxi permits to issue with a formula that considers population and number of airport taxi fares. Drivers say it doesn't take into account the competition taxi drivers face.
"What those 45 permits did was to lower the drivers' income, even though there was an increase in fare,” Dave Passmore with the Taxi Drivers Association of Austin said. "The formula is 22 years old, and we would like for them to reevaluate it."
City council is considering adding another 30 permits at its next meeting, putting even more cabs on the street.
"If the numbers are down, and you add another 30, I can't see where it’s going to allow the numbers to go up -- it will only decrease more," Passmore said.
Derr said the city is open to revisiting the ordinance, if the community has better ideas.
The impact of the new taxi permits will be presented at Thursday's city council meeting.
Council will then decide if the planned 30 additional taxi permits will be issued.