WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Some Wilmington taxi drivers are not going to be operating on July 4.
This comes after a threat they made to the city in February over Uber driver regulations. More than seven cab companies came together to explain their frustration. Now the time has come to strike, but not all of those companies are turning their taxis off.
For 11 years Mr Taxi has paid the bills for Marino Ranj.
“It was pretty good for a while, 6 or 7 years,” Ranj said.
He said the economy took a toll on his business. Then, Uber came to Wilmington.
“I thought, ‘Yeah, Mr Taxi, he’s not going to go away. People are going to need him,'” Ranj said.
At first, Ranj said there were only a few Uber cars.
“Then, all of a sudden, it just started taking over,” Ranj said. “People just need work. There is employment there. I give that to Uber. There is employment there.”
What isn’t there? Ranj said regulation and permits.
“I have to follow all guidelines, drug testing, federal background checks, higher insurance, of course, commercial,” Ranj said. “The Uber drivers are not obligated or watched over or anything.”
In February, several taxi companies came together to speak out against the city not holding Uber to the same standards.
Uber responded to the issue today with this statement:
“Rather than forcing antiquated taxi regulations on this innovative business model, ride sharing is a modern alternative that requires a new set of rules,” a spokeswoman said. “Over two dozens states have already passed legislation, establishing a permanent home for Uber and recognizing ride sharing as a valuable new option.”
The taxi drivers said in February, if the city or state didn’t do anything about the regulations, they would go on strike on the Fourth of July. While some drivers backed out, Ranj will be turning his taxi off.
“Oh, I am,” Ranj said. “I am. I just don’t know if it’s a strike or if it’s just lack of business and I just can’t afford to go outside looking for things that are not there.”
Several taxi companies we called that originally planned to strike said they will be operating tomorrow, because they say they have a service to the community. Some of the companies said they are still talking about it and deciding what they are going to do.