D.C. cabbies file lawsuit over new requirements

WASHINGTON – A group of cab drivers is calling the new taxi requirements discriminatory and a violation of their privacy.

Five drivers have filed a class-action lawsuit against the D.C. Taxicab Commission, its chairman and the mayor.

As cabbies lined up outside Union Station Friday, not may of them know about the lawsuit filed by their fellow drivers.

Driver Bereket Araia agrees with some of the points in the lawsuit, as first reported by the Washington City Paper, such as the 25 cents the commission makes off of drivers’ fares.

“If I make a mistake and press this button for example (starting a fare), I’m paying for a fare I didn’t collect, ” Araia says.

The lawsuit also points to the GPS tracking associated with the credit card readers in the cabs as a violation of privacy for drivers. It also says the new dome lights, which require drivers turn them on and off outside the car, are discriminatory against drivers with disabilities.

Araia, who has been driving his cab in D.C. for four years says it’s a matter of safety.

“The fact that you have to turn it on and off outside — that’s not even safe.”

Drivers are often stiff after spending multiple hours in the car he says, and often aren’t in a spot where they can safely get out of the car and safely pick up passengers on the other side.

D.C. Taxi Commissioner Anthony Muhammad says he is not surprised to hear about the lawsuit given the amount of change facing drivers.

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