Sacramento Cabbies Riled by Proposed Regulations

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Your taxi trip through Sacramento could be very different starting soon.

City council members plan to vote on new regulations that could force cabbies to cap their flag drop fee at $4 and accept credit cards at all times.

“‘Smoking is prohibited’ is underlined, so they want us to know what word prohibited means,” said five-year driving veteran Ahmad Mahmoud, as he looked at the 17-point test cabbies would also have to pass.

It’s designed to determine if drivers can speak and understand English, and if they can make correct change.

Mahmoud counts on his job with Elk Grove Cab to support his five-week-old son and resents what he says is the presumption that all drivers are uneducated and trying to cheat their customers.

He put himself through the state’s law enforcement academy but wasn’t able to qualify for hiring.

While Mahmoud has led cabbie protests in the past, he now says he understands Sacramento is just trying to improve itself, but wants to make sure city leaders take responsibility for their part of the problem.

“When I walk in to city hall…with friend or translator to get an application..with someone to show me how to fill out an application…what that tells you over there is that I don’t speak English.  Why would  you give me a permit? So you don’t come five or 10 years later attacking the driver for not speaking English when you’re the one that gave me the permit,” Mahmoud said, giving an example of what he’s seen in other cases.

This item is scheduled for 30 minutes of debate before city council.

Cabbies who are still opposed to all of the changes are promising a much longer discussion.

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