June 13, 2013
Contact: Paul Zilly

Puget Sound taxi drivers converged on Seattle City Hall on Monday afternoon to demand that the City take immediate action to enforce the laws that govern Seattle’s personal transportation industry.

Taxicab operators circled the block, honking their horns in support, while a delegation of leaders from the Western Washington Taxicab Operators Association (WWTCOA) addressed the media.

“We demand that the City start enforcing existing laws,” said Salah Mohamed, a driver with Yellow Cab and a member of the WWTCOA leadership council. “The City is not doing its job, and our families are suffering as a result.”

After the press event, taxicab operators delivered a petition with the signatures of over 500 taxicab operators to the Mayor’s Office calling on the City to act now on enforcement.

Under the law, only metered taxicab operators are permitted to use designated taxi stands or to stop and pick up passengers who hail them on the street. Limousine and other flat-rate drivers are not allowed to pick up drivers unless the rides are pre-arranged and the rates are pre-negotiated between the driver and the passenger.

“The City needs to crack down on drivers who are breaking the law,” Mohamed said. “Right now they are not fulfilling their responsibility to licensed taxi drivers and to the public at large.”

The City has just three inspectors on the street who are authorized to issue tickets to violators in an industry with 1,400 drivers. Lack of enforcement allows flat-rate vehicles to illegally undercut the fares of licensed cabs.

Taxi drivers have testified multiple times at the City’s Committee on Taxis, For-Hires, and Limousines Regulations meetings, calling for greater enforcement, but so far the City has not taken concrete steps to address the problem.