No taxi strike in Raleigh

December 29, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
You can have a Happy New Year's Eve without fear of how you'll get home if you drink a little too much in Raleigh.Taxi drivers had threatened a strike over how they're treated by the city. But Tuesday, they said they'll be on duty after all.

The main issues are illegal cabs and a lack of prime parking places for cabbies. Angry cab drivers had a sit down with city police officials on Tuesday and the two sides worked out some differences.

Elizabeth Seyoum owns Comfort Cab. It's a legitimate company. Her vehicles have a meter and they're registered with the city of Raleigh. But, she and other drivers say a growing number of cabs you see are in fact illegal.

"They don't have any taxi rules and regulations, so they can charge any amount for customer," she explained.

She and other legal cab companies want more done about it.

"Those are people driving around with their own grandmother's car and regular tag with no insurance and they're playing taxi," offered Adam Massoud with AAA Taxi.

Massoud, who's also president of the Raleigh Taxi Cab Association, called the meeting with city police. He says the other issue on the table is the fact there are very few designated parking zones for cabs citywide - specifically, none outside the new convention center.

"Where you're allowed to wait without getting a ticket for no parking or illegal parking, so that helps us instead of circling, wasting gas, we sit there, we wait, we pick up, we go - makes our job easier, makes the customer happy," said Massoud.

Massoud told Eyewitness News drivers were considering a strike on New Year's Eve if the meeting didn't go well. Police officials say they believe it was successful. They expect more taxi zones to come online soon and they say they will continue to work with drivers to identify and root out phony cabs.

"That's a concern for the police department and the city as well. Taxi cabs are regulated for public safety and public service reasons," offered Jim Sughrue with the Raleigh Police Department.

Taxi owners, it appears, were happy with progress after the meeting as well.

"As of now, there's no strike. Happy New Year." Said Massoud.


Load Comments