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About 1,000 taxi drivers went on strike Tuesday in response to a D.C. Council bill aimed at establishing a taxi medallion system or a taxi vehicle certificate system, organizers said. If passed, cabdrivers fear, the bill could substantially increase the cost of operating a taxi in the District.

“We see this as a veiled threat to privatize our business and invite big corporations into the taxicab business,” said Larry Frankel, a member of the Dominion of Cab Drivers. “We are here to protect our rights as owners and operators.”

If medallions are instituted, taxi drivers would have to pay a monthly fee, like those in New York or Boston, for medallions that would allow them to operate throughout the District. Frankel was one of the dozens of cabdrivers protesting Tuesday at the John A. Wilson Building. They say the bill threatens the ability of cabdrivers to privately own the vehicles they drive. The drivers also complained about a 30 percent drop in their incomes since the city switched from a zone system to a time-and-distance meter system to determine cab fares.

Most cabbies pay for dispatch services but own and operate their cabs independently, said Frankel who has been driving a District cab for the past 15 years. He and others said the proposed bill will decrease profits of taxi drivers in the District.

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