Taxi drivers protest for industry changes

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Anchorage Anchorage taxi drivers are demanding the city take action to regulate companies like Lyft, Uber and other ride share companies.

"Happy Fur Rondy, Happy Fur Rondy," said Timothy Huit, Taxi driver, contractor, and Spokesman for the Anchorage Taxi Workers Alliance.

Huit isn't all that happy during the noon hour in downtown Anchorage on Friday.

"This is a short Taxi strike against the MOA who has not supported us.
We want our demands met in a timely manner or we will continue to have larger and larger strikes until our demands are met," said Huit.

In his left hand Huit holds up a sign written in black sharpie that ready 'Fire the T.I' otherwise known as a Transportation Inspector.

"Folks want us to listen and understand that their life has been impacted by TNC's," said Eric Musser, Transportation Inspector for Anchorage.

You've never heard of a TNC? Yeah, neither have most people. It's basically a more complicated way that public officials refer to ride share companies. But Musser says he can't help driver like Huit and others in the Alliance regulate Uber and Lyft without approval from the Anchorage Assembly.

"The TNC's went to Juneau and Juneau passed a law that lets them operate external to our regulations," said Musser.

In January Governor Bill Walker signed two bills into law that Musser says allows ride shares to operate outside of any city regulations that Anchorage could apply.

"We instruct the city attorney to take legal action against the state against these legal bills in our city," said Huit.

The Alliance is also demanding that the city issue no more taxi permits until at least 2022 and increase police responses to when there are defraud thefts committed against taxi drivers.

"It's going to take a while to flush out and assess its impact on us," said Musser.

In a written e-mail Uber stated:

"We've received an enthusiastic reception from riders and drivers. For drivers, Uber provides a flexible source of income. For riders, it means access to safe, reliable and affordable transportation at the touch of a button. We're also excited to partner with Anchorage organizations to get more riders door-to-door safely."

Channel 2 was unable to get a response from Lyft.

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