Driving Drivers to the Ground
An Evaluation of Proposal to Add 30 New Taxicab Permits
Data from a study commissioned by the City Council and conducted by the Austin Transportation Department (ATD), as well as review of airport dispatch data obtained independently by the Taxi Drivers Association of Austin (TDAA), shows that Austin’s taxi drivers – one of our city’s largest immigrant/minority workforces- even at higher metered fares – are working longer and earning less. Driver incomes are plunging deeper into poverty levels as they toil daily over 12-hour shifts to serve the city and make a dignified living. The numbers from these independent studies validate the devastating story that hundreds of Austin drivers have already shared with Council Members during hearings regarding the issuance of 30 new permits – just months after 45 were already issued without study or review. As the City Council and Mayor have publicly pledged to allow the data to dictate policy, we urge you to take a close look at the study and see for yourself the human toll on over a thousand Austin families.
Taxi Drivers Association of Austin (TDAA): An Introduction
The Taxi Drivers Association of Austin (TDAA) is a membership based grassroots organization representing the largely immigrant taxi driver workforce that serves the city of Austin tirelessly. We have testified in front of City Council during the last two readings on these items that seeks to add 30 new permits to the city’s taxi force. We have consistently argued that drivers have been under severe economic pressure since 2008 and that the 45 new permits that the Council put on the streets in July 2012 have had further depressed driver incomes – making a bad situation worse.
What the Data Reveals
In the first two readings, in spite of our explicit demand that the formula for issuance of new permits be evaluated prior to issuing any new permits, the Council chose to vote in favor of the issuance of 30 new permits, 5-2. Over the last two weeks, in addition to the ATD Impact assessment requisitioned by the Council, TDAA has gathered data on airport taxi and non taxi dispatches. The data from both these efforts shows clearly that the 45 new permits have had a devastating effect on drivers.
This brief report analyzes two data sets and presents evidence that makes an unequivocal case against the issuance of 30 new permits. They are:
- The Austin Transportation Department (ATD) has just released an Impact Study on the effect of the 45 new permits that hit the streets in July of this year. While the ATD study is in overall agreement with TDAA’s positions over the last two months, we will briefly point to significant conclusions that can be drawn from it.
- TDAA has independently acquired data on total taxi and non taxi dispatches from Austin airport. We present our analysis of the same.