Council Considers Adding Taxi Permits
By Tyler Pratt
The Austin City Council will vote Thursday on a plan to issue more taxi permits. But local taxi drivers are not happy about the idea of putting more cabs on the street.
Members of the Taxi Drivers Association of Austin met at City Hall today to protest the plan to add 30 more taxi permits. The additional permits are part of a two-part plan that already added 45 new taxi permits in July. The association says the new permits are making it hard for drivers. Dave Passmore is President of the Association.
“Driver income is down,” Passmore said. “There is a decrease in ridership and we’re just trying to make the public aware.”
An outside study from last year found that special events like South by Southwest and the Austin City Limits Festival may be straining the city’s taxi capacity. And locals, like Nichole Donald, say it’s frustrating to get a cab downtown.
“It’s very difficult to get a cab,” Donald said. “When you call Yellow Cab of Austin you can’t get anyone on the line. You have to download the mobile app or go online. Sometimes you just want to talk to a person to know that your cab is coming.”
New taxi permits are typically added using a formula, which calculates the city’s need for more taxis. But Passmore says the council has not looked at that formula when issuing the new permits. With so many people visiting Austin and F1 approaching, the city may see a demand for more cabs.