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Letters | Driven to the Edge: Trouble in taxi industry

Cabbies struggle in an unfair system

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Why are cabbies treated so badly? Why can’t working people be treated with dignity?

When Boston Cab owner Edward Tutunjian was first collecting cab medallions in the 1970s, I drove for Boston Cab (“Driven to the edge,” March 31-April 2). Every attempt by drivers to make the industry better for us was met with contempt by cab companies and the police department responsible for making regulations.

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The change away from a more equitable split of fares came on the heels of workers’ attempts at unionizing. Then came the policy of renting cabs and having to buy gas from the company. If one had a bad shift, which often happened on a lazy Sunday or a summer’s day, one ended up earning less than the cost of the rental and gas.

When I was a cabbie, dispatchers had their favorite drivers who got the best jobs. One company was so bad that some drivers barely made anything while the dispatchers’ friends were kept busy.

This country worships the ambitious, the driven, the people who have the knack for wheeling and dealing and winning at Monopoly. Why are ordinary folks who just want a simple, decent life treated increasingly like Third World serfs?

Charlotte Burns


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