AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Taxi Drivers Association of Austin met outside of City Hall on Tuesday to voice their desire for council members to approve a new taxi driver cooperative.
Their goal is to change the way cabs function in Austin. Currently, cab drivers must pay a weekly stipend to drive for a cab company.
A taxi cooperative would give drivers an option to drive without a company allowing them to be an equal partner and likely pay lower fees. Currently, the city caps the number of cab permits at around 750. Drivers want 405 additional permits approved for the taxi co-op. If approved, cab drivers say it would allow more drivers to be part of the potential taxi cooperative.
Taxi Drivers Association Austin spokesperson, Dave Passamore, says with the additional permits, drivers who are more familiar and more experienced with Austin roadways will be navigating for riders and visitors to Austin.
“One of the requirements to be a cab driver is that you have to live in Austin for three years,” explains Passamore. “But yet we have Transportation Network Companies bringing drivers from all over the country to work here. We saw it during SXSW. These are some of things we are observing.”
The Austin City Council will conduct a hearing on the issue on Thursday.