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Boston Cabbies Sue For Better Wages; What's Your Take?

Taxi drivers in Boston are paying as much as $150 daily out of their wages, and some are fed up with it.

Pierre Douchemin and Bernard Sabago have had enough.  

According to an article on WBUR, the two taxi drivers intend to file suit against the City of Boston, the Independent Operators Association, Boston Cab Dispatch and the USA Taxi Association to win back operating fees they see as unfair and to get taxi drivers at least the minimum wage for the hours that they work.

What kind of fees are they talking about?  Per the article, cab drivers pay for tolls if they aren't carrying a passenger, they pay for the gas in their cab and their own insurance, and they also pay a fee for a "medallion."  A cab medallion, issued by the city, "can run up to a half-million dollars at auction," and so medallions are typically owned by cab companies, rather than cab drivers themselves.  

Since, cab companies with medallions "ask drivers to share that cost through a daily fee," the combined expenses for cab drivers can add up to $150 per shift they work. 

Shannon Liss-Riordan, the attorney representing the two men, told WBUR that “Essentially, cab drivers pay to work,” but John Ford, the Revere owner of Top Cab/City Cab disagrees.

“No one’s going to go out there and work 60 hours for zero,” Ford says. “These two gentlemen who say they make no money, maybe they should work harder.”

Where do you stand?  Is this a case of laziness or a broken bureacracy?  

Editorial Note: this article, poll, and comments section are shared with the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Charlestown, and South End Patch.com sites.  

Mark March 22, 2012 at 02:48 PM
the cabs are dirty, there is no room in the back seat, the drivers balk at taking credit cards. NYC has cleaner and more spacious cabs as well as more courteous drivers. There seems to be little incentive for the owners to improve any of the conditions--for the drivers or the cabs. This is part of the whole solution in my view.
Beverly March 22, 2012 at 05:09 PM
The majority of cabbies I encounter in Boston drive like maniacs. They talk on the phone incessantly and do not pay attention to the road. They run red lights, switch lanes constantly without signaling or looking, cutting off other drivers and often causing accidents. If they want more money they should drive safely, learn English and clean their cabs first.
SM_bos March 22, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Ha. I still think the Medalliion system stinks, but I'll add: - No indicator if in service or available - No AC in back seat - Drivers almost always on phone - Don't use blinkers - Stop in travel lane, even when there is room on the shoulder or side of road - Stomp on the gas pedal, even in a hybrid, or when there is a red light just ahead - Often don't know their way around very well - Cabbies don't know, or pretend not to know, about closed streets or major events like that will delay traffic - Dispatch companies don't answer phone during busy times - I'm sure I could go on. I will say that the vast majority of cabs I've been in were clean.
Cab watcher June 02, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Last November I was doing business at a taxi related business and the conversation got around to poaching, suddenly the owner came out of his office and said what do you think of this. After dinner, he and his wife went to the new taxi stand in the new Boston Seaport District, there sitting at the top of the stand was a blue & white FCV Bay State Taxi of Brookline, MA. Talk about stealing Boston's work. He went to the driver, a woman, and said what are you doing here? She said, I'm a cab. He said YEAH, but you are a Brookline cab, get out of here. Interesting that the Boston cabs behind her had not even created a fuss. If only Boston could get its own business. Every fall when the new students come into Boston, apparently Bay State Cabs of Brookline tell they they are Boston cabs. This is what a student actually told me, I said these are not Boston Cabs, and she said, they say they are Boston Cabs. I said no, they are Brookline cabs and can get a $500 ticket and the vehicle impounded if caught picking up street flags.
Julie June 02, 2012 at 03:49 PM
A year ago I parked in the Sovereign bank parking lot on main street. I was told that I towed from the lot for parking in a "taxi cab space" by a teller. Why does the City allow taxi cabs from Allston/Brighton to park in Charlestown? These drivers come in from surrounding towns and switch out personal vehicles for cabs all day. It cost me towing and storage

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