The city’s taxi drivers find themselves in a tough spot.

Uber has created a price challenge for current licensed taxi drivers. Uber operators have no taxi licence, iffy insurance rules and choose to do part-time, sporadic work aimed at peak periods of demand.

The licensed drivers who used to serve the airport – and are now locked out – face added fees that the airport authority has washed their hands of and which airport fleet drivers must pay. The fees arrive without the ability to pass on some of their extra costs to customers.

Driving a licensed cab is a full-time job, one that often supports a family. In some cases the long hours help to pay off the debt incurred by buying a taxi licence plate – plates that Uber drivers do not have to have.

No taxi passenger should begrudge that part of a taxi fare that goes to a taxpaying, hard-working driver.

We can take exception with high rates, but that’s the system put in place by dispatch companies in concert with our elected councillors at city hall. They set the rates – not the drivers.

The drivers who are locked out are not rich. There are no millionaires among them. They work long hours with no guarantee of good money, all while risking physical harm: both from the dangers of driving in city traffic every day and from unknown passengers. Your mom told you not to pick up strangers. Taxi drivers pick up strangers in dark places every day.

The people who choose to drive for Uber are working part-time for less pay, slowly nibbling away at full-time jobs.

It’s the Wal-Mart-ization of an entire livelihood as employees get forced to work for less money because customers want to pay the lowest possible price. Unless of course the job can be outsourced to a developing country – and then they don’t work at all.

This is a real-world case of “pay me now or pay me later” if we turn full-time workers into the unemployed and spread their incomes across a part-time landscape of our own making. Maybe there even more desperate people out there willing to give paying customers piggyback rides around town.

Those in need of transportation in the real world should support the taxi drivers now locked out.

Source: Taxi Drivers Deserve To Work

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