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Cab Drivers Say Airport Rules For Lyft, Uber Too Lax

Nicole Nixon
Cab drivers protest ride-sharing regulations at Salt Lake City Hall, Nov. 30, 2016.

About 30 cab drivers held a protest outside Salt Lake City Hall on Wednesday. They say it’s unfair that ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber don’t face the same airport regulations as taxis.

Cab drivers marched outside city hall chanting slogans.

“Regulate Uber, regulate Lyft.”

“No more double standard.”  

They said there are several problems with Lyft and Uber doing business at the airport.

“Uber—they don’t have any inspections. They don’t have a background check, they don’t have an airport badge, the one that goes through the FBI,” said Jongkor Mayol.

He's driven a taxi for eight years and calls the current situation unfair. “We meet the requirements, but Uber, they don’t meet the requirements, they don’t even have commercial insurance,” Mayol said.

Lyft and Uber now serve about 40% of passengers looking for rides to and from the airport—even though they’re not allowed to wait for passengers on airport property like cabs are, says airport spokeswoman Nancy Volmer.

“It’s just an on-demand request,” Volmer says. “But I just think that a lot of people throughout the country are becoming more comfortable with these types of ground transportation operations and so they’re using them more.”

Ride-sharing companies also help drive down prices and keep them competitive among transportation providers.

But it’s affecting cab drivers. Jongkor Mayol said Wednesday he used to make pretty good money as a taxi driver, but he’s watched his income plummet since Lyft and Uber have been allowed to service the airport. The immigrant from South Sudan has a political science degree and young children.

“You cannot support a family with that income,” he said. “And I can’t get a job. I’m really trying, but I can’t get a job at the moment.”

Mayol and his colleagues want Uber and Lyft to have similar regulations under Salt Lake City, which is unlikely. Last year the state legislature passed a bill requiring ride-sharing companies to be regulated by the state.

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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