Monday, July 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Taxi drivers protest PPA budget hikes

A line of taxi cabs circled around City Hall about 11 this morning and blared their horns incessantly for what seemed like a small portion of forever to protest proposed fee increases from the PPA.

Taxi drivers protest PPA budget hikes

If you listen closely enough, even now, you can still hear the honking.

A line of taxi cabs circled around City Hall about 11 this morning and blared their horns incessantly for what seemed like a small portion of forever.

The aim wasn't to drive pedestrians and passersby to madness -- it was to protest the Philadelphia Parking Authority's proposed fiscal year 2013 budget, which would levy a bevy of increased fees on taxi cab owners and drivers, according to Ronald Blount, the president of the Unified Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania.

"We organized the protest. The PPA is hurting our drivers' ability to make a living," said Blount, whose union represents 1,200 drivers in the city.

Blount said the 2013 budget for the PPA's Taxi and Limousine  Division would allow the agency to charge drivers $200 to physically transfer the rooftop medallions from an old cab to a new one.

The budget would also raise the medallion transfer fee -- which cab owners pay when they sell their medallions -- from 2 percent to 5 percent, said Jeff Hornstein, the executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Taxi Association.

If a medallion owner sold his medallion for $400,000 -- which Hornstein said is not far-fetched -- the owner would have to pay the PPA $20,000.

The PPA's proposed budget also calls increases in other medallion and certificate fees, Hornstein said.

Blount said his union will likely organize another protest next week.

 

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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