LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday unanimously approved a zero-tolerance policy that would revoke permits from taxi cab drivers if they refuse to pick up passengers at Los Angeles International Airport based on their race or other prejudice.
Former Major League Baseball player Doug Glanville prompted the ordinance after filing a complaint that he was refused service because he is black.
The MLB analyst for ESPN recalled what a driver said to him as he tried to hail a cab last September: “He basically said: ‘You go across the street. You take the bus. It’s $19.’ That’s what he kept saying.” Glanville said a taxi dispatcher told him: “You’re the third black guy this has happened tonight on my shift.”
“My stomach turned after reading that. I said we’ve got to make a change and do better,” said Councilman Bob Blumenfield.
Airport officials told the city council that two black officers posed as passengers hailing cabs last November. Out of 25 requests, they were turned away five times.
A traveler at LAX told CBS2/KCAL9’s Dave Lopez that he’s not surprised by what happened. “No! Are you kidding? I am a black man. I know what’s going on.”
But one black taxi driver said: “Somebody’s making it up.”
The new rules call for the immediate, permanent revocation of a cabbie’s permit if he or she refuses service based on discrimination against a specific race, nationality, religion, age, disability, sex, or gender identity.
Drivers who refuse service for other reasons would result in having their permit suspended no less than six days from the airport. Discourteous actions could lead to a suspension lasting no less than four days.
The driver, who refused Glanville a ride, claimed he did it because the trip was too short and would have resulted in lower fares. He initially received a one-year suspension of his permit. After appealing to the Department of Transportation, the offense was downgraded.
The council Tuesday also requested that airport officials consider similar rules for taxi and ride-sharing companies as well.