Without the opportunity of advancement, there is no hope for the future of the taxi industry.
They give you flat tires. One day, it was raining and slippery. My friend was driving on the 163, heading downtown, where there’s the I-8 East and West. He hit the wall. The car was slippery and the tires were bad. “Jirde” we call him. He had children. We lived in the same apartment. He died on impact. The passenger survived.
I moved from Minneapolis in 2011. My two children were so happy to move to California – they were excited about family trips such as Disneyland. However, for three years, I have not been able to take them anywhere because of the lease. Always, I worry about the lease. I do not get to take my children because my owner says I have to drive.
I have been a taxicab driver for 8 years. I have two daughters, one in middle school and one who goes to San Diego State. Throughout the past 6 months I have made only enough to cover the cost of my lease. Even though I have been working 20-22 hours a day, 7 days a week I do not make enough money to support my family. I’m being charged for a second driver’s lease obligation who quit earlier in the month despite telling my permit holder I only want the permit for half time. Because I haven’t been able to sleep I’ve been having health problems that have been making my life miserable. My heart has been having issue that I have had to go to the doctor’s for and I am feeling worse by the day.
I know a permit owner who sold 10 of his permits for a sum of $1.5 million. All 10 of these permits were given to him for free from the City of San Diego. I know many permit owners who have routinely made hundreds of thousands of dollars just by selling permits on the black market.
While I was working my car’s transmission broke. I asked my permit holder for a spare car as I paid the lease for the week and was rightfully due a vehicle for the week. The permit holder gave me a car that had been out of commission for a while and was filled with a terrible smell. I called the permit holder and asked him how do I drive this car with such a nasty smell? He told me that wasn’t his problem and that he didn’t care. After driving this car for under a day I had to go to the hospital and get treatment. They hooked me up to a respirator and I was sick for 3 days. The permit holder still charged me for these 3 sick days despite the smelly car being the cause of my sickness.
There exists an opportunity for current taxi drivers to serve the community but no access to that opportunity. We need to create a system where everybody benefits instead of a select few.
A permit holder used to lease a permit between myself and another driver. When that other driver had to stop driving, the permit holder started charging me double and told me I had to cover the other portion of the lease that used to be paid by the other driver. I told him that this was not fair and that I still only wanted to use the permit half the time. He said he didn’t care and that I had to pay for it all or that I would not be able to drive for him or anyone else again.
I’ve seen how the San Diego taxi industry has become terrible. There is no fairness in the industry. Personally, I am seeing drivers being hurt by the industry and the City of San Diego is doing nothing to correct that. Many owners say that opening the cap will cause too many cabs to be on the road. If there were too many taxis on the road, why is Uber and Lyft so prevalent in the San Diego market?
The owner can just take your key away without any reason. This happened to me several times. Most owners don’t have any consideration when drivers fail to pay lease even if there is a valid reason like driver is sick or there is not enough fares. All they care is to receive the lease payments. Also, I had to pay at least twice to have the car fixed, owners don’t take responsibility even if they give us a bad car.
I had a friend, he was sick but his permit holder required payment of lease and threatened to fire him if he fails to pay. So even if sick, he continued to work so that he won’t get fired. He was a veteran member of the Navy. He served his country but that doesn’t seem to matter. One day I and others found him dead in his house, and when I informed the permit holder of what happened to him, he demanded payment of his lease and didn’t even care.