As independent contractors, cab drivers are notoriously hard to organize. But on Tuesday, in conjunction with a board meeting of the Municipal Transportation Authority (MTA), hundreds of them waved signs, filled the seats of the meeting room, and circled City Hall honking their horns, all in protest of new MTA rules that drivers see as patently unfair.
The biggest objection: a five percent fee cabbies now must pony up on every fare paid with a credit card, a payment option they are required to offer. Most small businesses pay somewhere between 2.5%-3% on credit card transactions, and cabbies want to know why they are being charged more.
Additionally, they are upset that at the end of a shift, money from credit card fares—minus the 5% fee—gets deposited in a bank account. They can’t access that money for 24 to 48 hours, and when they do, withdrawal fees often apply.
Drivers want to be able to pass on these extra costs to passengers, but haven't gotten a fare hike since 2003.
Another oft-repeated complaint was about the new electronic waybill, which is meant to keep better track of where drivers go and how much they get paid for each fare. Drivers don’t want their financial information transmitted through a third party and are worried that info will be sent to the IRS.