An association of Boston taxi drivers urged Mayor Thomas M. Menino on Tuesday to abolish the police hackney unit that regulates the industry, and replace it with a civilian commission that treats cabdrivers as employees rather than independent contractors.
The cabdrivers — speaking a day after Menino responded to a Globe Spotlight investigation by ordering an overhaul of the hackney division, part of a sweeping review of the city’s $1 billion taxi industry — said the unit is broken beyond repair.
“The Boston Police hackney division is a dysfunctional, mismanaged agency that has abetted a systemically corrupt industry that takes earnings away from working drivers and gives them to millionaires,’’ the Boston Taxi Drivers Association’s representative, Donna Blythe-Shaw, said in a news conference in South Boston.
She was joined by drivers who described themselves as victims of a city-sanctioned system that for decades has put the interests of wealthy taxi owners over everyday workers.
At the State House, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo suggested lawmakers may take up the issue of what the mayor called inadequate insurance coverage for taxis. The law now permits taxis to operate with the state minimum bodily injury coverage of $20,000, a fraction of the $1 million that Massport requires of limousines doing business at Logan Airport.
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