New Orleans Taxi Drivers Request Extension For Reforms

taxi reform Taxi drivers are asking for more time!

While some have been able to adapt to the new city rules, others say they want an extension.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter shows you why.

New Orleans taxi drivers are asking the city for an extension on regulations already set in motion.

Under taxi reforms approved last year, they’ve already had to install costly credit card machines, navigation systems, and surveillance cameras.

The next step restricts the age of vehicles on the road.

Trotter asked, “Do you understand what the city is trying to do?” “Absolutely, sounds like they’re just trying to be competitive and make it more inviting to use those taxis,” passenger Ed Schillo said.

The new restrictions set to take affect January first prohibit vehicles more than 7-years old.

A vote on the requested 1-year extension was tabled Thursday in council.

“We are short on time, it’s already mid-October and the deadline is the 31st of December. So, we need some action taken as soon as possible so we have time to change the vehicles,” said united cabs president Syed Kazmi.

He says the change will affect 25% of his 450-vehicle fleet.

Bottom line: a lot of drivers with outdated vehicles will have to buy newer vehicles.

Drivers we talked to say an extension could at least make the difference between picking up fares and the unemployment line.

Initial reforms, last year, cost the industry hundreds of veteran drivers.

“What is my fear, if we don’t get the extension there will be a lot of people looking to do the same thing,” Kazmi said.

“We cannot afford, we don’t make that much money,” taxi driver Jomo Jillo said.

He says an extension gives him a fighting chance.

“Then you have the time at least to save money and you can get ready for it, that’s what we want,” Jillo explained.

We turned to passengers about the new restrictions.

Trotter asked, “Does that matter to you?” “No, as long as it’s safe transportation,” passenger Mitch Hollifield replied. “I think if they focus on making it safe transportation, it really doesn’t matter.

“If it’s clean and it’s getting me to where I need to go absolutely not,” Schillo said.

Taxi drivers and fleet owners say it will cost an average of 15-thousand dollars per vehicle to comply with the new restrictions.

The issue comes up again before City Council’s transportation committee October 24th.

6 comments

  • Bonita Dziuk Robinson

    New Orleans is now mini Hollywood. Cabs r depicted in modern movies as the old fashion cabs. If Hollywood doesn’t know about image nobody does. Who dat? We old fashion. People of Nola would no sooner want to change their old Mardi gras floats nor their old taxi cabs than …… if city wants to make a noticeable difference to impress tourists in city then chemical pressure wash clean the big fat juicy garbage trucks daily just like the streets.look at England cabs. They are from the 40s or earlier. England set the bar for taxis years ago. Tourist come to Nola to see old history in America. To see anything older u have to go over seas

  • Bonita Dziuk Robinson

    The standard business plan for taxi is buy old police cars. Paint them taxi colors. Put them on the road stripped of cop equipment only four tires and steering wheel is all u need and a meter. Go give rides to people who had their cars repossessed . Can’t drive. Can’t afford a car. Etc… these tiny little elevator size cabs are death traps. Plus they ride low. Nola streets r like reading braile. They are made for mules. New cars can’t carry more than 4 passengers when most rides are 5+ people plus sm cabs get busted up on the streets. Drivers actually have to live in their cab office man cave. Most cab drivers are large people so they need big old cars . This is not a job for tiny people who can b kidnapped. Robbed..Killed. etc… easily. Every day before a cabbie steps into their vehicle they say to themselves same thing every cop says to themselves. Am I going to meet the person who is going to kill me today? Am I going to make it home tomorrow? More cabbies are killed in the streets than cops yet the city is making cab drivers take the bullet. Those who judge others do not judge themselves.

  • Bonita Dziuk Robinson

    Gee I know. City said they were going to raise meter rates so cabbies could afford to meet city demands. How about if city raises meter rates first than they have right to make demands.

  • Bonita Dziuk Robinson

    Slavery is corruption. Since back than everyone wants to be the corrupt plantation owner. Cab drivers are not slaves for the city. Cab drivers are heroes. We are being treated no better than Vietnam vets who were spit upon etc… cab drivers have to be in street with highest crime rate anywhere

  • Bonita Dziuk Robinson

    The old local regular passengers for years know the sound of the engines from the big old cabs. They stay in their house in dangerous neighbornoods until they hear the old familiar sound of cab engine they’ve heard for years then run out to the safety of the cab without having to blow horn waking up whole neighborhood . Or drawing attention to themselves. These new cabs are quiet. Passengers cannot stand out in street wait for cab. All city cares about is impress passengers who saved up whole year go on vacation one week in New Orleans or impress rich passengers who come to city whom surely can afford a limo and a bodyguard not a cab. Cab drivers need to start charging limo prices since city is expecting limo quality level out of poor cab drivers. Especially rich who visit city are ones always asking cab drivers disgusting questions and never giving tips. Cabbies are too poor to give to the rich.

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