Paul Stanley, a city cabdriver for many years, has this suggestion for suburban taxi drivers: stay on your own turf.
Mr. Stanley, who drives for Diamond Cab Co., says that he's seen too many "Brand X" and "gypsy" cabbies operating in the city. These taxi drivers do not have permits to operate in Baltimore and they steal fares from legitimate city cabbies.
"Sometimes I only make the nut [money used to rent the cab] and nothing else because of them," Mr. Stanley said.
Nearly 200 city cabdrivers gathered at Druid Hill Park yesterday to draw public attention and to discuss a strategy for dealing with suburban cabbies who flout the law. Many drivers said the state Public Service Commission (PSC), which regulates cabs, is not doing enough to put the clamps on the county cabbies. Others said city police should crack down on the illegal drivers.
Only Checker, Diamond, Arrow, Royal, Sun and Yellow cab companies are licensed to pick up fares in the city.
"This has been going on for about a year with them coming in here. We can't go out there to the county for business, and it's the same for them," said Levi Moore, who has driven cabs in the city since 1964. "It's not right for them to come in here and take fares."
Frank B. Fulton, director for consumer assistance and public affairs for the PSC, said illegal drivers are an "occasional" problem in the city. Mr. Fulton said his office receives about a dozen complaints annually about illegal cabs that operate in the city. Illegal drivers face criminal prosecution and a $50 fine for their first offense, he added.