New York Cabbies Strike Over Civility Rules

Yellow cabs were hard to find at airports, outside hotels in Manhattan yesterday as taxi drivers staged a walkout.

Angry over proposed drug tests and civility rules, the 800-member Taxi Workers Alliance announced a 24-hour work boycott, hoping to entice most of the city's more than 12,000 yellow cab drivers to follow suit.

The strike appeared to be working yesterday morning.

Last month, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission's proposed a reform package that includes drug tests for taxi drivers, a ban on smoking and blaring music, and fines of up to $150 for ignoring or cursing customers. Other fines would triple or quadruple. The commission is scheduled to vote on the new rules May 28.

Taxi drivers want a hand in rule-making and a dose of respect, says Biju Mathew, a strike organizer.

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