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Cab Drivers Upset Over New Changes

Local taxi cab drivers are not too happy with the city of Rochester after they received a letter with a list of mandatory changes.
Local taxi cab drivers are not too happy with the city of Rochester after they received a letter with a list of mandatory changes.

Melkie Demissie has been a taxi driver for more than ten years. He bought his cab to start a business, Park Avenue Taxi. Recently Demissie, along with other cab drivers received a letter from the city with a new list of rules and changes that will be going into effect.

"Being asked and required to paint my car, that I purchased with my own money, a certain color was just unacceptable," Demissie said.

Painting all cabs yellow isn't the only new rule. City Council member Carolee Conklin says they are also requiring mandatory training for drivers, and if you're cab is more than ten years old, you can no longer use it. The city also wants panic lights installed in all cars in case of an emergency.

"There have been cab drivers who have been robbed, some at gun point, homicides, and this panic light will alert police cars that they are in trouble," Conklin said.

Demissie doesn't think this is a bad idea. What he is upset about is the fact that he has to pay for all of these new changes himself. He has to install a panic alarm, paint his white car yellow over a four year period, and in 2018 he will will have to buy a new car.

"I'm required to pay it as an extra expense from what I don't have unless you know what drivers make, you don't know if we can afford it or not," Demissie said.

"It's illogical to suggest that the city would assist that way in any small business," Conklin said.

Cab drivers will get a chance to voice their opinions to City Council on Tuesday February 11th at 3 p.m. at Council Chambers at City Hall. Demissie plans to be there and hopes that he and his fellow drivers can change the city's mind.

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