Taxi Drivers Protest Lack of Rate Increase - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/14/04

Taxi Drivers Protest Lack of Rate Increase

Drivers demonstrate for higher fares. Drivers demonstrate for higher fares.

High gas prices have severely affected those who make a living driving around town, like taxi cab drivers. For months they've been asking the City of Savannah for relief. The city has implemented a surcharge to help with those high gas prices, but cabdrivers say it's not enough to make a difference.

Drivers say the surcharge runs from 50 cents to a dollar and that's not nearly enough to help what they call an ongoing problem.

After filing petitions and not getting a response cabdrivers like Atashia Surry just want what they feel is fair. "More locations to pick up people and more locations to stage," she said. "Right now we can't sit where there's a meter, we get a ticket."

These things she says will help her deal with high gas prices and vehicle maintenance. As it stands, rates haven't changed in years and soaring gas prices are causing cabdrivers to lose money. "From my experience with the gas rates, we are pretty much spending more on gas than what we're making on a daily basis," said Deanna Myrick, who drives for Adam Cab.

The city is set to implement a surcharge of.50 cents for fares under $10 and a $1 surcharge for rides over $10, but cabdrivers say that alone won't even pay for a gallon of gas.

City officials say it's fair. "We felt that was a fair enough surcharge to establish parity," said Jim Gilliamsen with Parking Services of Savannah.

The surcharge was not intended for cabdrivers to make money, but only to help with high gas prices. While these drivers continue their protest to increase rates and establish more and expand existing taxi stands, some city officials say they want this longtime feud to end and will help get their complaints and petitions filed correctly.

"If the companies initiate the activity, go to the clerk of councils office, get a petition, I will help mentor the completion of the petition such that it works into the system in the proper fashion," said Gilliamsen.

This surcharge goes into effect tomorrow.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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