Taxicab drivers’ strike will last two hours near San Francisco City Hall today

The daylong taxi strike that was supposed to cause citywide gridlock will actually be a two-hour protest event centered near City Hall.

Taxi drivers, angered by paying high credit card fees and the delay of long-anticipated meter rate increases, announced last week that they would strike today. Tariq Mehmood, the driver organizing the work stoppage, said he intended on recruiting taxi drivers from every company in The City to stay parked or drive around an empty vehicle during their shift today. Mehmood said the idea was to create “gridlock” on San Francisco streets.

However, Mehmood clarified on Monday that the taxi strike would only last from noon to 2 p.m. today. He said the event was always intended to be just two hours, during which time drivers will refuse all potential fares.

“Two hours is still plenty of time to prove our point,” Mehmood said.

The protest will coincide with a 1 p.m. board meeting of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which regulates cab operations in The City. Mehmood said taxi drivers will attend the meeting in force to address their concerns to the SFMTA’s governing board.

Transit agency spokesman Paul Rose said the SFMTA will monitor the taxi strike, but officials do not anticipate the protest will have a significant effect on service.

“We have 1,500 taxis on the street every day, and we anticipate having roughly that same number [today],” Rose said Monday.  

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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