Atlanta taxi drivers say hundreds of cabs will be disqualified from picking up passengers at Hartsfield-Jackson International under a new ordinance requiring cabs be at most seven years old to pick up at the world's busiest airport.
Dozens of taxi drivers filled an Atlanta City Council transportation committee meeting Wednesday to show their frustration with the new age limit, saying they face declining income due to increased competition from ride-share services Uber and Lyft.
"A lot of drivers are panicking," said Sharmarke Yonis, a taxi driver who represents cabbies in discussions with the city and the airport.
Cab drivers say some are now waiting six hours at the airport for a single ride, with hundreds of drivers waiting in the assembly lot for passengers while another lot holds Uber and Lyft drivers waiting for customers to request rides. They say many taxi drivers can't afford to buy new cars, and that hundreds of them will be out of work due to the new requirement.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's deputy chief of staff Katrina Taylor Parks said the taxi industry has gotten multiple extensions to delay a stricter requirement on vehicle age.
"There has to be a cutting off point," Taylor Parks said. "The city's position is about safety."
Atlanta city council transportation committee chair C.T. Martin plans to schedule a work session on the matter.
"It's still a problematic situation at the airport," Martin said. "I don't know if it's ever going to go away."
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