Urges Council Committee to take moderate approach to ensure market-based competition and to protect small, independent drivers
WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following statement – in connection with the January 30, 2012 11 a.m. hearing of the DC City Council Committee on the Environment, Public Works, and Transportation hearing on B19-630, the DCTC Service Improvement Amendment Act of 2011 – can be attributed to Negede Abebe of the SBA Executive Committee:
"Our association, which represents 3,000 independent taxicab drivers, recognizes the need to transform the level of service and professionalism offered to residents and visitors using D.C. taxis for their transportation needs. We take seriously our role as Washington ambassadors to the millions who visit our city each year, as well as our ongoing work to serve the citizens of the greater Washington area.
"We believe it is important that taxis operating in the District be maintained at a high level of cleanliness and safety, be mechanically sound and have a good appearance. Broadly speaking, setting aside some specific details, we support accepting credit cards, the use of GPS for navigation and specific provisions to ensure that quality taxis are on the street, standardized colors, and uniform cruising lights providing on/off duty and passenger/no passenger information.
"However, these transformative changes should be instituted in a manner that protects small taxicab businesses, maintains market-based competition which ensures high-quality consumer service, and does not disrupt service. Current efforts to improve the system have been rushed, with decisions reached without adequate input on a number of issues that can have serious consequences and impose undue burdens on drivers. The practical effect of the totality of the proposed changes will drive small companies or independent operators out of business, resulting in market dominance by big companies that have not served the market well – the same effect the ill-advised medallion proposal would have had.
"We seek to work cooperatively with both the Council and the D.C. Taxi Commission, but it's important that all involved adhere to transparency and other good government principles – as well as market-based competition. We are optimistic that, working together with the Council and Commission, we can arrive at solutions that both meet the need to improve the customer experience and allow small business, independent taxi drivers to stay in business."
SOURCE Small Business Association of D.C. Taxicab Drivers