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D.C. cabbies plan to strike on Dec. 20

(Published December 17, 2001)

D.C. taxicab drivers are organizing a strike during morning rush hour on Dec. 20 to protest what they contend is an effort by Mayor Anthony A. Williams’ administration to require the installation of meters in all cabs.

Taxicab drivers in the District currently charge riders based on a system of zones, rather than metered fares. The meters vs. zones issue has been part of a contentious debate for many years.

"We need to strike to stop the meters from being forced on us," says a flyer that is being distributed to cab drivers throughout the city, urging them to participate in the morning work stoppage from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m.

The flyer also says the Dec. 20 protest "will be the start of a series of strikes, until we get what we want."

"The mayor is not listening to us. The mayor does not hear us," the flyer says.

The drivers are planning a rally at 10:30 a.m. that day at Freedom Plaza, across the street from the Wilson Building, which contains the offices of the mayor and city council members at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.

Protesting drivers contend that meters will benefit tourists by reducing their taxi fares as much as 50 percent, while they will cause many of the city’s residents who live farthest from downtown to pay fares as much as 50 percent higher than the zoned system charges.

Supporters of metered cabs contend the zoned system is difficult to understand and that meters would, therefore, eliminate bogus charges and be a more fair system for charging riders.

"The administration, hotel and restaurant trade associations, Convention Center Authority, and the Washington Airports Authority support the meter proposal," the strike organizers’ flyer says. "They are attempting to put us out of business."

Copyright 2001, The Common Denominator