Updated: Wednesday, 17 Dec 2008, 12:23 PM EST
Published : Wednesday, 17 Dec 2008, 12:23 PM EST
Hartford (WTNH) - Taxi drivers rallied in Hartford today saying they're looking to change current state laws so that they can make a decent living.
David Small is a taxi driver who would like to own his own cab company. He's been waiting two months for state approval, but it's not an easy process.
"I had to prove a need, I had to go against the big monopolies who say, 'we don't want him to have a company in that area,'" Small explained.
Cabbies and advocates for them say that's what's wrong with Connecticut's taxi industry. It's controlled by a few large companies, and when an entrepreneur tries to compete, the state rejects their applications.
"More than half are rejected in part because they were unable to prove their business was necessary. Imagine if we required a restaurant to prove that a town didn't have too many restaurants before they were allowed to open a new one," said Robert McNamara from the Institute for Justice.
A new taxi study by a state committee looked at that issue, and at other problems drivers say are caused by having monopolies, like safety trouble. In a spot inspection earlier this year, 41 out of 43 cabs failed to meet safety standards.
"A lot of the defective cars belong to the big companies with their own maintenance people. They're just not doing the jobs," said Small.
The study also found that the taxi crash rate is four times higher than regular cars.
"Taxis are on the road 24 hours a day. You can't compare that to your own personal vehicle," said Small.
Still, drivers do agree with much of the report, the question is how to fix the problems.
"This report finds all of the problems that's within the taxi industry, and does nothing about it," said Antoine Scott from the Coalition of Independent Contractors.
In other words, the report found lots of problems, but advocates for the drivers say the recommendations won't help solve them. A spokesperson for Senate Democrats says at least the report does serve as a wake up call for the legislature that something needs to be done.
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