District of Columbia Cab Drivers Stage Strike
Commuters and tourists found it harder to find a cab on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2001, as hundreds of the capital city’s 7,000 taxi drivers held a strike.
Drivers participating in the strike refused to pick up passengers between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. They were protesting a city proposal to switch to meters from a zone system of calculating fares.
The District of Columbia is the only major city to use geographic zones.
At a rally across from Mayor Anthony Williams’ office, DC Taxicab Commissioner Sandra Seegars told about 50 drivers the strike was a success. The normally long line of cabs at the city’s Amtrak and commuter rail terminal was down to a trickle.
The drivers say meters make cab rides cheaper for tourists who take shorter trips, but more expensive for residents who often take longer rides. They also complained about the $600-$800 cost for installation.
“This is a bad time, with the economy, we’re not making any money right now,” said driver Solomon Adamu.
But the mayor disagrees. “With a meter system, drivers get a fair return on their investment, while riders pay a fair and accurate price for service,” Williams said.
Some officials believe the zone system allows drivers to take advantage of those unfamiliar with it. Along with the mayor’s office, the meter proposal has the support of several tourist-oriented organizations.