Cabbies protest proposal by city to require English test

05/20/2014 12:46 PM

10/08/2014 11:58 AM

Dozens of taxi drivers for small companies marched Tuesday at City Hall protesting the city’s plans to impose stiffer controls on the downtown cab industry, including a proposal that all cabbies take an English proficiency test.

“We don’t want that,” said Kazman Zaidi, president of the Sacramento Taxi Cab Union. Zaidi said the city should require only new drivers to take an English test, not current drivers.

The City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on a city taxi ordinance update that city officials and downtown hotel owners say will help professionalize taxi service downtown.

The proposed ordinance change includes a city taxi driver exam that tests drivers for basic English skills, knowledge of local geography, taxi laws and basic math. The proposal also includes a dress code, sets a limit on the age of cabs and requires cab cleanliness. The rule changes will require drivers to accept credit cards. The city also would limit the number of downtown taxis to 450, down from the current estimate of 512, in hopes of calming the competitive environment.

“We are continuing to enhance the industry,” city business permit manager Dafna Gauthier said earlier this year when officials proposed the ordinance changes. “We feel like we are becoming a more standardized taxi industry.”

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