Taxi Workers Rally at L.A. City Hall

18 August 2009

Taxi Drivers Rally!

Taxi Drivers Rally!

I got a chance to drop by the Taxi Workers Alliance rally this morning at Los Angeles City Hall. The Taxi Workers are a participant in the Green L.A. Transportation Working Group (GLATWG.) A healthy transportation system includes a broad range of traveller choices, and taxis are one important option. Urbanist Gordon Price, in a talk in Los Angeles last year, stated that a resilient transportation system includes the possibility of taking a car and paying “by the trip” – including taxis and car-sharing.

The first thing I saw as I bicycled in was a ring of taxis slowly circling the block where city hall is located:

Taxi Procession Down First Street

Taxi Procession Down First Street

Taxis had signs posted on them with slogans including “ALTO A LA FRANQUISIA DE ESCAVITUD” [stop the franchise slavery,] “WHY NO TRANSPARENCY?” and more. There were dozens of taxis stretching the entire circumference of the block. Taxi supporters were gathered on the south lawn, urging the drivers on. I pulled up and took my place in the supportive crowd. I caught up with city transportation commissioner and GLATWG advisor Malcolm Carson and Woodrow and Tammy from the Bus Riders Union (also a GLATWG participant – we nearly had a quorum – [note: we don’t actually do the quorum thing yet at GLATWG… we probably should?])

The drivers circled a while, then parked, and held a rally on the steps of city hall. Among their demands are that they city end the system of “sweatshops on wheels,” and that the city issue medallions (permits to operate a cab) only to actual active full-time drivers.

I confess to not being completely up to speed on all these issues… but it does seem pretty clear to me that our city regulations (including things like dress codes for drivers) hinder our taxi system from being effective and equitable. There’s a lot more L.A. taxi issue information available in this 2006 report entitled Sweatshops on Wheels.

Unfortunately I had to leave early to get to a lunch meeting… but I was glad to add my voice briefly in support of these workers and their campaign.

Taxi Workers Alliance at the City Hall Steps

Taxi Workers Alliance at the City Hall Steps

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One Response to “Taxi Workers Rally at L.A. City Hall”

  1. Sentayehu said

    Thank you very much for doing this and your suport

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