“If new companies are granted special exemption for open entry and take only the most lucrative customers, thousands of South Florida taxicab drivers will eventually be driven into bankruptcy,” Feliciano wrote. “When they paid the thousands of dollars of county licensing fees to start those small businesses, who could have known the county would consider changing the rules and pulling the rug out right from under them and their families?”
Francois, the drivers’ group director, said that instead of keeping Miami-Dade’s 2,121 taxi medallions — six of which sold for an average of $415,000 each at the county’s last auction in 2012 — the county should scrap the medallion system and charge to license individual drivers. A $6,000 annual license for some 5,000 drivers could bring in $30 million a year to county coffers, he suggested.
The Uber legislation is not the only matter pitting drivers from Francois’ association against Feliciano’s owners association.
A second proposal to be discussed Tuesday, sponsored by Commissioner Juan C. Zapata, would require all taxis that pick up passengers at PortMiami or Miami International Airport to be equipped with a credit-card payment machine.
That’s fine with the owners, who have touted that the machines could be installed for free, Feliciano said.
But it’s not OK with the drivers, who contend that they will have to absorb the cost of processing credit-card payments, Francois said. A separate proposal, sponsored by Commissioner Dennis Moss, would prohibit drivers from charging passengers extra for paying with a credit card.
Another proposal to be discussed Tuesday, sponsored by Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz and designed by Mayor Carlos Gimenez and MIA director Emilio González, would require cabs at the airport and seaport to feature not only credit-card machines but also GPS devices and Sunpass transponders.
Those taxi drivers, who would receive a decal identifying them as an “ambassador” cab allowing them to work at the county-owned ports, would also have to follow other rules, including having more up-to-date cars, dressing less casually and opening car doors for passengers.