Reporting David Sutta
MIAMI (CBS4) – Dozens of Miami-Dade cab drivers protested in front of county hall on Monday, one day before the commission debate on taxi industry reforms.
“We don’t want to be slave to the taxi company anymore,” said Raymond Francis with the New Vision Taxi Drivers Association.
One of the complaints made by the cabbies is pay. In Miami Dade the drivers pay a daily fee to the taxi companies to drive. So before they start they are in the hole typically $150 to $200. By their math, a full day works out to $4 an hour.
Four proposals to change the industry are at hand including the Mayor’s Ambassador Cabs Program. His plan would reward good drivers and punish those who overcharge or refuse service.
In addition the program would require taxis at the airport or sea port to accept credit cards and carry SunPass for tolls. The mayor would also like to see taxi’s outfitted with GPS navigation systems and security cameras.
When asked if there were any parts of the mayor’s proposal that he liked, cab driver Jose Dominguez replied, “What I like is that he’s talking about it.”
The taxi cab drivers are asking for something quite different. They want to be owner/operators instead of cab companies running the show.
“Why should a person that is not even a cab driver own a permit. They are sitting at home making money,” said Dominguez. “Me as a cab driver I have to beg someone to let me drive. And I already have a license.”
Cab drivers are offering to pay an annual $6,000 fee to the county which would total around $30 million every year. In return, the driver would own their cab and make a living wage. It’s a win-win by their account.
“That’s the American Dream. We all want to be our own boss,” said Dominguez.
County commissioners will hear the four proposals on Tuesday but not the one made by the actual drivers who will meet with the mayor’s office on Wednesday.