Will Tomorrow’s Cab Strike Shut Down San Francisco?
By: Victoria Holliday
Greece is currently in the midst of a 2-week national cab strike. Last week, 2,000 Greek cab drivers took over the roads and blocked access to ports, archaeological sites and Athens airport. An estimated 15,000 tourists were caught in the mess, and many missed flights because they were unable to get to the airport. Like San Francisco, the Greek cab strike is fueled by cab drivers’ frustrations with new government regulations that would affect cab drivers’ bottom line.
On August 2, San Francisco cab drivers are planning a 24-hour strike that could leave San Francisco tourists and locals stranded.
How Will Cabmaggedon Affect San Francisco?
Cabs are a major component of transportation in any major city. As Reset has discussed before, car sharing services like traditional taxi services and emerging providers like ZipCar help increase mass transportation use and decrease car ownership. How? Because if San Franciscans know they can rely on a car being there on those few days a month when they really need one, they are much more likely to rely on public transportation and other transit options the rest of the month. Data shows that each car-sharing vehicle takes about 15 cars off the road.
Why does this matter? First and foremost, because the more people rely on trains, buses, bikes and walking, the more livable our city becomes. Our environment improves. Our quality of life improves. And it is also important to remember – our economy improves when San Franciscan’s make the transition from relying on cars to relying on public transit.
Ditching that car and making the transition to the Fast Pass supplemented by the occasional taxi ride or ZipCar rental saves more than $8,000 per year. That’s money that could be invested right here at home, rather than spent on imported oil and (mostly) imported automobiles.
While we are talking about our economy, remember that the leading driver of our local economy is still the tourism industry. And cabs also play an essential role in promoting and supporting tourism.
San Francisco cab drivers are upset about the 5% surcharge they will have to pay on any debit or credit card transaction. And they have the right to be.
But given just how important taxi service is to our economy and our quality of life – the rest of us have the right to be angry that this is a problem City Hall just can’t seem to solve.
Watch this video from the first strike in June, and stay tuned as we follow this story.