City Desk

Teamsters and Cabbies Sue City to Stop Impounding Taxis

taxi_darrow

The alliance between D.C.'s cab drivers and the Teamsters labor union has made its first move—a lawsuit calling for the District to stop impounding cabs that do not meet the new modernization requirements until the city can prove the credit card system is reliable and there are enough dome lights available for installation.

The lawsuit—filed Tuesday in Superior Court by the D.C. Taxi Operators Association, a newly formed Teamster-cab driver alliance—also seeks damages for drivers who have already been fined or had their vehicles towed for failing to meet these requirements.

The complaint includes a motion for a temporary restraining order to delay the towings.  It names both the District and the D.C. Taxicab Commission.

“The drivers are facing delays in getting the dome lights and the costs are soaring, but the city’s answer has been to tow and impound taxis, which is shattering families throughout the region by taking away their vehicles without due process,” wrote Ferline Buie, president of Teamsters Local 922 in D.C., in a press release announcing the suit. “We have demanded a meeting with Mayor Gray and demanded a moratorium on towing and fines, but the mayor has not acted. As a result, because of this economic emergency, we are seeking relief in the courts.”

Cabs were required to have their new dome lights installed by a Nov. 1 deadline, but many are still without the lights, installation companies are backlogged, and prices have subsequently jumped. Drivers have cited numerous problems with the machines, including not receiving the money from the credit card payments.

A spokesman for the D.C. Taxicab Commission would not comment on the suit.

Read the complaint here.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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