Times of recession: Cab drivers feel economic pain

FIFTH IN A SERIES

Minneapolis is a tough place for taxicabs. The city has been flooded with taxis in recent years, and now the recession means fewer people travel downtown and spend money on cabs.

Drivers have been forced to work longer shifts — up to 12 hours a shift — and some drivers say they only bring home minimum wage.

In 2006, the city decided to add 45 taxis each year until 2010 to help increase competition. So there are now fewer fares and more driviers dealing with longer hours and lower pay.

McKenna Ewen is a student journalist at the University of Minnesota. His entire project is available at TimesOfRecession.com.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Ann Nordby on 05/22/2009 - 10:41 am.

    As my father says, “competition makes a better product” and I hope that that’s true. My experiences riding in taxis in the Twin Cities has been terrible — drivers hold phone conversations with their friends while driving, don’t know the most basic information about city streets and how to get across town, ignore speed limits, and some are very rude.

    The answer may lie in regulation: are Minnesota taxi drivers required to meet any requirements for knowledge of city streets or knowledge of customer service and safety?

    I, and my elderly father, would definitely take taxis more often if they were safer and more pleasant to use. That is a choice that has nothing to do with the economy.

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