SF Cabbies Protest Credit Card Regulations

A Caravan of cabs will circle San Francisco City Hall in protest of City policies.

There will be plenty of cabs in San Francisco on Monday, but not many to drive you around.

A caravan of cabs are expected to parade past City Hall at noon in the afternoon before heading out together in a unified direction.

Cabbies are protesting credit card fees, government over-regulation and the feeling that the City is using them as cash cows, according to Mark Gruberg, spokesman for United Taxicab Workers, an advocacy organization.

The protest comes one day before the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency meets to vote on new credit card regulations for city cab drivers and their employers.

Here's a bit of history: for the past two years, cab companies have been able to pass off 5 percent of their credit card processing fees to drivers. As The San Francisco Examiner reported in December, the result has been that cabdrivers, who are mandated to accept plastic, will regularly avoid passengers who want to charge their fares or say their credit card machines are broken.

In response, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has recommended a proposal to cap credit card fees at 3.5 percent for drivers.The plan also includes stipulations that all cabs will be outfitted with standard credit card machines.
The agency’s board of directors is scheduled to vote on the proposal Tuesday.

Paul Rose, spokesman for the SFMTA, told the SF Chronicle, the fee decrease for drivers would improve customer service by ensuring that credit cards will be accepted in all San Francisco cabs.

Mark Gruberg, spokesman for United Taxicab Workers, a drivers’ organization, told the paper that the 3.5 percent fee is still too prohibitive for cabbies, many of whom struggle to earn a living.

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