Cab drivers protest 'unfair' exclusive taxi contracts - KCTV5

Cab drivers protest 'unfair' exclusive taxi contracts

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Monopoly or fair business? That is the question hundreds of Kansas City area taxi cab drivers are asking.

They say more and more of their customers are going with Yellow Cab, and there is nothing they can do about it.

It is a decision that has independent taxi cab drivers in Kansas City furious. They took their protest to the streets Monday and will be taking their cause to City Hall on Thursday.

Bruce McCuiston, 46, used to be a truck driver, but diesel prices and other major expenses made him change careers about five years ago.

"I came off the road to start driving a cab and found if to be a very fruitful profession out here," McCuiston said.

Now he says his taxi business is in danger as well.

For years, Kansas City's Yellow Cab has established individual contracts with area hotels meaning independent cabs can drop off but not pick up travelers. Those cab drivers say it is putting them out of business.

"It creates an unfair work environment for the rest of us," cab driver Mark Weldon said.

Taxi drivers say hotel pick up is at least 60 and 90 percent of their business.

"Everyone is licensed and goes through the same requirements to be a driver here in the city, and it is not fair that one company gets to use it just because they have more money than everybody else," protestor Michael Bond said.

Jim Ready is the city's manager of regulated industries. He said the city is looking at ways to try to make the system more fair but adds it is perfectly legal for businesses to contract with one company.

"If these contracts continue with the larger companies, I do think it will force the smaller companies out of business," Ready said.

Yellow Cab said they are all about service. They say hotels like the Weston sign contracts because they provide the best service.

"I just want them to give us a fair shot. Let us enjoy the same free enterprise system that we've enjoyed with them all these years," McCuiston said.

The Weston declined to comment on this story.

Some of the Yellow Cab and hotel contracts date back 20 years. Independent taxi drivers are now worried the company is about to have exclusive pick up rights at casinos in Kansas City as well.

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