Cab drivers upset with new station rules
Published 12:00 am, Thursday, August 13, 2015
Cab drivers at the New Canaan train station are upset about a new set of rules imposed by the town on how they do business.
The metal sign labeled “New Canaan Station Rules” was posted more than a week ago on the station building and threatens to tow cabs if drivers don’t operate from designated areas or remain with their cabs at all times.
Steven Garcia, owner of A1 Car Service Inc. which has 13 licensed cabs operating in town, questioned the authority of the town to post the sign and enforce the rules. The sign, which was posted by the town’s Department of Public Works, indicates violators are subject to arrest.
Garcia said the sign doesn’t make clear what agencies, such as local police and Metropolitan Transportation Authority police, would enforce the rules.
Garcia said the signs prohibition of “no soliciting of commuters,” could be construed as applying to taxi operators even though they are licensed by the state.
“Arrest by who?” Garcia said. “Somebody is going to give me satisfaction at the town of New Canaan and if not I will call the state of Connecticut. This is our livelihood and what we do.”
Calls for Bill Oestmann, the town’s superintendent of buildings and fleet with the Department of Public Works which maintains the train station, did not return calls for comment.
Garcia said the prohibition on parking at the station overnight and leaving taxis unattended at the station was unreasonable given state regulations that require to cab operators to staff drivers late into the night to handle fares at the station.
The rule against leaving a taxi unattended is onerous for cab drivers, especially when they have to find a bathroom, Garcia said.
“We have someone at the station through the last train which is very late and some drivers will stay on shift until the morning rush hour,” Garcia said. “Where should they go?”
Other rules listed on the sign are:
No overnight taxi cab parking
No one permitted in the station building during hours of closure.
No soliciting commuters.
Mike Moore, a cab driver for Everready Transportation, another cab company that operates at the train station, said the he and other cab drivers also have issues with the new rules.
Many drivers are at the station working well outside the station building’s hours of 5 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends, said Moore, and could use around-the-clock access to the building.
Garcia and Moore both said the town eliminated 24-hour access to the building several years ago by installing an automatic lock system.
“We have to be here under state regulations to pick up commuters if they need us but we don’t even have a bathroom,” Moore said. “They want the service but they don’t want to give us a basic amenity.”