Cab drivers upset over Mercato's restriction of taxi service
Taxi cab conflict at North Naples shopping complex Video by fox4now.comvideo
NAPLES, Fla.- A Naples taxi cab driver says he is being forced out of big money making spots like the Mercato and fancy hotels. Those places have restricted taxi service to one designated company.
Peter Francois started Turbo Cab, an airport and taxi service, just 2 months ago.
"The taxi business is a first come, first serve basis."
It did not take long to learn he isn't welcomed everywhere in Naples. Peter says he gets chased out of good money making places like Mercato which is known for its active nightlife, fancy restaurants and bars.
"I want to be able to come pick up a passenger, drop a passenger off without getting chased out."
Here is the problem: The Mercato limits idling by taxis to one designated company called "Taxi Time." This means other cab companies can't wait for potential customers and they can only drop off or pick up pre-arranged passengers.
"I feel like the place should not be restricted to just one cab company."
The Mercato has done this since 2010 and the General Manager of Taxi Time tells Fox 4 they just renewed their contract with the Mercato. Is it fair for cab companies to be left out? Peter does not think it's right and it's costing him money.
"This is how we make a living. This right here is our tool, this cab, the car and that's how we make our money."
Fox 4 took his concerns to the Mercato. A spokesperson tells me it was done as a safety measure and a way to control traffic. Foot and car traffic is very heavy especially during the evening and too many taxis create a problem, but Peter does not think it's fair.
Please find Mercato's full statement below:
"As a public safety and traffic control measure, The Mercato has limited idling by taxis to one designated company, though all taxis are still able to drop off passengers and pick up pre-arranged customers at The Mercato. Pedestrian and vehicle traffic at Mercato is very heavy, particularly in the evening hours, and allowing unlimited idling by taxis awaiting fares creates a traffic and public safety hazard. Accordingly, Mercato established a relationship with one designated company to alleviate the congestion caused by dozens of taxis parking - sometimes in the street - while awaiting potential customers. We are pleased that we have been able to protect pedestrians and decrease congestion, while maintaining prompt access to taxi service for our many visitors."