Cab drivers pleased with Board of Supervisors' vote - - The News for South Mississippi

Cab drivers pleased with Board of Supervisors' vote


Cab drivers in Harrison County say a legislative commission formed last year to oversee the industry has been nothing but a hindrance. So Monday, drivers converged on the Board of Supervisors' meeting, looking for help.

Ron Friedman has been driving a taxi for 11 years. In his view, the Harrison County Motor Vehicle for Hire Commission has not done a good job.  

"It's simply a matter of economics here. They have not increased the number of trips, but yet they are increasing the number of drivers out here, all competing. So from an economic standpoint, you can't make a living. " Friedman lamented.  

Other industry workers were just as critical at the board meeting. Leisa Leisy is the president of the Gulf Coast Taxi Association. 

"We have unpermitted drivers, uninsured drivers, drivers that have been permitted with outstanding current warrants, drug testing allegedly falsified. The situation is actually worse than before the commission," Leisy said. 

If there was one main theme that could be taken from Monday's meeting, it was the complaint that taxi drivers say their industry was targeted, that there were many other motor vehicles for hire that were not included in the original bill. 

"For hire vehicles are comprised of the following: limousines, shuttles, courtesy vehicles, executive cars, jitneys, non-emergency medical and non profit vehicles," explained Paige Coker, who works with Gulf Coast Yellow Cab. 

Supervisors voted to give their blessing for the commission to continue, but only with stipulations.

"By extending the repealer, this gives us a chance to get some of these bugs worked out and with the amendments to make this a more appointed by the Harrison County Board of Supervisors, gives us a little more control," Supervisor Kim Savant explained. 

Cab drivers considered the vote a victory of sorts. 

"This is the first time that we've been paid attention to," said Richard Smith with Value Cab.  "This is the first time we've had any elected officials to understand out plight. And today, thanks to the Board of Supervisors, we have a chance to change this bill, to change this law so we can survive." 

Some of the changes the supervisors want to make include gaining control over the commission's budget, as well as authority to appoint or remove commission members. They also say some fees are too high and need to be lowered.

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