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Raleigh Taxi Drivers Consider New Year's Eve Strike Rumors

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Daniel Horacio Agostini via Flickr
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A Raleigh taxi driver is claiming that some cab drivers could go on strike this New Year’s Eve to protest what they consider to be unfair competition from ride-sharing companies.  

They argue that web-based services like Uber and Lyft undercut taxi cab drivers because they are not subject to the same registration, licensing and insurance regulations as traditional taxis.

Cab driver Iyman Massoud says he represents almost 650 drivers as part of the Taxi Association of Raleigh. He and others have been urging city officials to regulate the services, which allow riders to hail drivers using a cell phone app.

“It’s a simple solution: put us on an equal playing field,” Massoud said.

City officials have deferred the issue to state lawmakers who are expected to take up the topic when they reconvene in January.

'Just A Rumor'  

Several cab companies like Green Taxi are skeptical of how many drivers will strike Wednesday night.

“I keep asking my drivers and they don’t know what’s going on so I don’t where the rumor started. We don’t have any intentions of striking,” said Joe Ludwig, operations manager at Green Taxi.  

Fellow taxi operators say they understand the concerns with Uber and Lyft, but that their responsibility is to serve residents.

“It’s a 24/7/365 business. Anyone who’s sitting out is only hurting themselves and the city,” said Chris Dembofsky, assistant operations manager at Taxi Taxi.

Reema Khrais joined WUNC in 2013 to cover education in pre-kindergarten through high school. Previously, she won the prestigious Joan B. Kroc Fellowship. For the fellowship, she spent a year at NPR where she reported nationally, produced on Weekends on All Things Considered and edited on the digital desk. She also spent some time at New York Public Radio as an education reporter, covering the overhaul of vocational schools, the contentious closures of city schools and age-old high school rivalries.
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