Taxi companies run on skeleton crews during pandemic. Can the industry survive?

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The taxi industry took a hit when rideshare services like Uber and Lyft emerged. Then LAX designated a separate pick-up zone away from terminals. Now the COVID-19 pandemic is causing massive economic loss across the board. Photo by Boris Dzhingarov/Wikicommons.

Taxi drivers have faced hard times for the past several years. Business dropped after the emergence of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. Then LAX designated a separate zone for pick-ups — away from the terminals. Then this year the coronavirus pandemic hit, making it even more challenging for cab drivers to make ends meet.

The Taxi Workers Association of Los Angeles represents about 3000 cab drivers. Its president Leon Slomovic says, “The companies have been working diligently on finding new sources of income for the drivers. The city has waived their fees — which amount to about $1200 a year — until August but have refused to extend it.”

He adds, “The companies have reduced their staffing levels to basically skeleton crews of just a few people. … So it’s been devastating to the industry.”  

Credits

Guest:
Leon Slomovic - President, Taxi Workers Association of Los Angeles

Host:
Steve Chiotakis

Producers:
Christian Bordal, Jenna Kagel