Fare Is Fare: Cab Drivers Cry Foul Over Special Privileges for Natural Gas Taxis at Love Field

If you had a hard time flagging down a taxi this morning, well, consider that just a taste of what's to come if independent cabbies don't get their way fighting the ordinance that lets natural gas-powered taxis jump to the front of the line at Love Field Airport.

Hundreds of drivers marched around the reflecting pool at 9 a.m. waving American flags, shouting for justice and repeating their threat, "No Taxi! No Super Bowl!" While the city's touting the policy as a clean-air measure, letting natural gas-powered cabs jump the line at the airport gives preferential treatment to bigger operations that can afford new CNG-powered cars.

Late last month a federal judge denied the Association of Taxicab Operators' attempt to block the clean air ordinance in court, leaving the cabbies' union to make their appeals out in public.

"We're not going to back off this issue because this is our livelihood," said Mirza Sajid, an ATO spokesman. "We will shut down if this doesn't happen." An independent driver himself, Sajid said the mayor needs to remember that the policy will hurt tens of thousands of Dallas residents who drive for small taxi operations.

Around 9:45, Sajid rallied the drivers surrounding him into a scrum beside the reflecting pool, telling them through a bullhorn to get back to work until they're ready to send another message to the city. "This is not the end," he said. "This is the beginning only."

More photos from the protest are after the jump.

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