More than 100 cabbies and cab company owners swarmed into Miami-Dade County Hall as the county commission launched a reform of the South Florida taxi cab industry.
Heeding complaints from the tourism industry and feeling the heat from major event organizers the commission, with plenty of encouragement from Mayor Carlos Gimenez, have laid out a path toward improvement.
Under discussion: expansion of town car service which will answer the call for higher end transportation demanded by event attendees.
One such service called Uber provides an app for cell phones. Members merely hit the app and a car driven by an owner/driver picks them up.
That one has local cabbie and cab owners chewing nails. The commissioners want cabs that serve the airport and the port to be equipped with credit card machines, to be later model cabs, and drivers who are well-dressed.
Speaking about the state of the local cab industry County Commissioner Audrey Edmundson said: "They have allowed their domination to benefit themselves with outdated cars. Poor service has become the rule rather than the exception."
The app town car service is of high concern to taxi company owners and independent drivers that paid in some cases more that 100-thousand dollars for a permit to drive in the county.
They say the town car services will allow anyone who has a vehicle that passes county inspection will be allowed to pick up passengers.
Cab owner Frank Hernandez says,"Can you imagine if they put thousands of these vehicles on the road? No one will make money."
The cab industry reform legislation will go through additional public hearings before a final vote.