Some of NYC’s cabbies plan strike

Amy Scott Sep 4, 2007
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Some of NYC’s cabbies plan strike

Amy Scott Sep 4, 2007
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TESS VIGELAND: Also on this Labor Day, a union in New York City is threatening to flex its muscle. A group claiming to represent thousands of the city’s licensed cabdrivers is planning a strike. Drivers are protesting a new high-tech system they say will cost them unnecessary time and money. Marketplace’s Amy Scott reports.


Amy Scott: By the start of next year, all 13,000-plus yellow cabs in New York will be required to install fancy new equipment: a video screen passengers can watch in the back seat, a credit card payment system, and a global-positioning device.

Many owners say they can’t afford the $7,000 installation cost, or the credit-card transaction fees. They worry the city will use the GPS to track their every move. If the strike goes ahead early Wednesday morning, driver William Guerra says he plans to stay home.

William GUERRA: I got a family to support. And we don’t make so much money in this business.

Plenty of drivers oppose the strike. Kamran Kijwaja already has the new gear in his cab. He says it’s made his job much easier.

Kamran KIJWAJA: I used to write down everything: when you enter my taxi, when you leave it, how much you paid me, right? Now I don’t need anything to write down.

The group organizing the strike represents just a fifth of the city’s licensed drivers. And dozens of unofficial car services may be only too happy to pick up the slack.

In New York, I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.

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