The Salt Lake City Council believes changing the number of city taxis from 268 to 200 won’t cost drivers jobs. It’s not going to be an easy sell at tonight’s meeting.---
Local cab companies have already gone on the offensive against the council’s proposed ground transportation ordinance that would move away from certifying three permitted taxi companies to a contract system that would only allow two of the city’s three taxi companies--Ute Cab, City Cab and Yellow Cab--to remain business.
The proposal “will put more than 68 gainfully employed drivers out of work during a recession” according to a handout prepared by Yellow Cab which has been distributed to policymakers in Salt Lake City and County government. “Yellow cab currently has drivers assigned to all of its cabs and has not had to reduce the numbers of drivers during the recession. In fact, Yellow Cab has a waiting list of people wanting to become cab drivers.”
This point, however, is one that council chair J.T. Martin disagrees with and expects to be a contentious issue in the debate. “The reduction of cabs does not necessarily equate to a loss of jobs,” Martin says.
He believes with the new proposal forcing the remaining two cab companies to alternate days they spend at the airport, that the companies will remain busy enough to keep employers behind the wheel, even if there are fewer cabs on the street on any given day. “Actually, I think it will result in a net gain in jobs,” Martin says, however, adding that it will “continue to be a debating point.”
The city will consider the proposed changes to its ground transportation ordinance at tonight’s council meeting at the Salt Lake City & County Building, 451 S. State, Sept. 7, 7 p.m.