Hartford (WTNH) - Taxi drivers rallied in Hartford today saying they're looking tochange current state laws so that they can make a decentliving.
David Small is a taxi driver who would like to own his own cabcompany. He's been waiting two months for state approval, but it'snot an easy process.
"I had to prove a need, I had to go against the big monopolieswho say, 'we don't want him to have a company in that area,'" Smallexplained.
Cabbies and advocates for them say that's what's wrong withConnecticut's taxi industry. It's controlled by a few largecompanies, and when an entrepreneur tries to compete, the staterejects their applications.
"More than half are rejected in part because they were unable toprove their business was necessary. Imagine if we required arestaurant to prove that a town didn't have too many restaurantsbefore they were allowed to open a new one," said Robert McNamarafrom the Institute for Justice.
A new taxi study by a state committee looked at that issue, andat other problems drivers say are caused by having monopolies, likesafety trouble. In a spot inspection earlier this year, 41 out of43 cabs failed to meet safety standards.
"A lot of the defective cars belong to the big companies withtheir own maintenance people. They're just not doing the jobs,"said Small.
The study also found that the taxi crash rate is four timeshigher than regular cars.
"Taxis are on the road 24 hours a day. You can't compare that toyour own personal vehicle," said Small.
Still, drivers do agree with much of the report, the question ishow to fix the problems.
"This report finds all of the problems that's within the taxiindustry, and does nothing about it," said Antoine Scott from theCoalition of Independent Contractors.
In other words, the report found lots of problems, but advocatesfor the drivers say the recommendations won't help solve them. Aspokesperson for Senate Democrats says at least the report doesserve as a wake up call for the legislature that something needs tobe done.
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