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Cab Drivers Fight City over Proposed Regulations to Improve Cleanliness, Language

SACRAMENTO-

Just two months into his tenure as a taxi driver, Aghanistan native Jamil Nabiza admits the language here is a challenge.

‘English proficiency proven through a written test’ is just one of the issues the City of Sacramento is trying to tackle with proposals designed to curb what happens in some cabs.

“I feel like I need a shower now for getting out of the taxi,” Tami Edwards said as she prepared to roll her bags into Sacramento International Airport.

Cleanliness of drivers and cars, as well conveniently “broken” credit card machines, were other top issues on a list of complaints a city committee spent a year reviewing.

To improve the industry, Sacramento may require that taxis more than 8 years old come off the road. Also, they are considering requiring all drivers wear the collared shirt  and slacks worn by airport crews.

Nabiza proudly showed off his clean ride Tuesday, right along with his working credit system. He uses ‘Square’ in conjunction with his iPhone and says he gets much bigger tips that way.

FOX40 spotted another cab that didn’t look quite as nice and its driver got very upset when asked about it, shoving his hand into our photographer’s lens.

College student and cab driver Zabi Sakhi says he can provide clean, courteous service in his jeans.

For him, spending extra money to meet a dress code would be a hardship.

“It’s not only affecting my business, but it’s affecting my family,” he said.

One veteran taxi driver who didn’t want to be identified says all the proposals don’t address the biggest issue in the city – that ride services like Uber and Lyft are squeezing an already crowded market.

“When you solve this problem, then we consider the rest of the problem. This is the huge one right here,” he said.

The Public Utilities Commission is looking into more regulation of the new car services.

It oversees Uber and Lyft as opposed to the city’s governance of taxis.

Now that Sacramento’s law and legislation committee has approved changes to the taxi industry, the full city council will debate the matter.