If you rely on taxis, you may want to adjust your transportation plans: The Taxi Workers Alliance says that drivers it represents will strike on September 5 and 6 to protest the Taxi and Limousine Commission's decision to add GPS systems to all yellow cabs. But then the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, another advocacy group, said that there would be no strike (with spokesman Fernando Mateo saying, "Read my lips: There will be no strike."). Our thoughts: Pray there's no unusual weather event and take mass transit or your bike.
The NY Times reports that opposing viewpoints come from groups who are "vying for the right to speak for city cabdrivers." The TWA believes that GPS systems present an invasion of privacy, while the NYSFTD says, "You want privacy, you don't drive a cab." The TWA's Bhairavi Desai says there are 40,000 drivers willing to strike, and questioned the use of GPS: "They're not navigational, cannot be used for dispatching, and serve no purpose to the driver or the public." Well, there is the supposed potential of the TLC being able to track down a cab for a passenger (who has left something in it) with GPS
The TWA has about 10,000 members (there are around 44,000 taxi drivers in total, driving 13,000 cabs, according to the Daily News). Taxi drivers would lose $200 a day if they went on a strike, which led a TLC source to tell the News, "Owner drivers are doing very nicely, and lease drivers are paying every day, whether they work or not, and they don't want to be losing money. Maybe a handful of fleet drivers would be sympathetic and strike, but you won't notice a difference." At any rate, the Office of Emergency Management is developing taxi-strike contingency plans.
The last taxi strike was in 1998, when drivers protested new rules and higher fines. Desai also led that strike, which involved 40,000 drivers; then-Mayor Giuliani threatened to allow vans and livery cabs to pick up passengers.
Photograph of a Grand Central taxi line by Unlisted Sightings on Flickr