If you're a taxi driver, how do you generate sympathy among the public when you feel your business is threatened by ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft? Do you A.) Get better about showing up on time, B.) Make a ridiculously useful app of your own, or C.) Create a massive traffic jam in a city already notorious for gridlocks?
Taxi drivers in Washington D.C. today went with C.), much to the chagrin of people who live and work here and have places to be. You know, I could be wrong — I'm not a super-smart Teamsters organizer or anything like that — but I can see this blowing up in the drivers' faces just like it did in Europe.
The Washington Post reports that "a caravan of angry taxi drivers made its way from East Potomac Park to Freedom Plaza" earlier today, which resulted in the closing of Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest from 15th to 9th streets Northwest.
Ironically, the Post reports, this meant some people had difficulty hailing a cab.
The drivers were members of the Teamster-affiliated D.C. Taxi Operators Association and started the jam to protest app-based services like UberX and Lyft, which have become increasingly popular with both normal humans and the drunk hill staffers who use them to get from one lame, overpriced bar to another.
While the companies behind these apps have been accused of some shady behavior themselves, they are remarkably convenient and are in many cases more user-friendly than traditional taxi services. This has meant they have run afoul of those companies, as well as city and state regulators, who are pissed that they aren't getting a piece of the pie.
If you're unable to hail a cab because of the traffic jam created by the taxi protest, might I recommend hailing an UberX car instead?
Photo credit dkmelo