One of the most popular and oldest means of ground transportation used globally is by Taxi. In most cases, the taxi driving work force is made up of drivers who are retired persons, slightly disabled, new immigrants who have cultural and language difficulties, and ex-offenders who have had difficulties gaining employment.  Often times these individuals would be reluctant to make complaints about wrong doings that they saw in the taxi industry. This is because they had a fear of being terminated from their job by making alligations against their employers. Currently, the taxi driver work force is a made up of a younger, energetic, outgoing, skilled work force, and have achieved higher educational levels. They are in the taxi industry because of the economic crisis in the USA and globally in recent years. Houston taxi drivers are hard workers, family leaders, and good people who act as ambassadors in the City. Taxi drivers indeed are the first people to welcome visitors and Houstonians who are coming back to the City, and the last people to say good bye to the people who are traveling away from the City.

It should be the purpose of city government that the taxi business has the best advantage in ensuring that taxi drivers, cab companies, and the riding public can experience economic growth, safety, and a good image of the industry and as being the model city for ground transportation.

We do not criticize the current administration for the mistakes that happened in the past. However, we cannot afford to carry these same injustices forward because we need comprehensive industry changes which will help everyone in the industry, and allow the City itself to grow economical and to have a quality taxi service.

We believe that it is time for taxi drivers to have options after receiving their license to operate either as true independent contractors by having their own medallion in group as one company, or to work for an existing company. The City must draft fair and transparent   policies, rules and regulations regarding the industry.

The City may have concerns from commonly asked questions which is how the City manages individual drivers with their own medallions, what effect will this have on existing fleet taxi companies if the City issue medallions direct to drivers.

Question one: Drivers must be organized in group in united form, create their own company, and present their business plan on how they want to serve their customers. This will allow the City to have a system with one car, one color scheme, a well maintained vehicle owned by individual owners, one dispatching system in group, well organized customer service handling body for the group, group insurance, from one company under one management, and share the cost to run their business uniformly together. It is great advantage for all drivers if they can have their own permit which allows them to have the following benefits for themselves and help the City in multiple ways such as produce more income for themselves because they do not have to pay the high medallion lease fees for a company. All incomes go to drivers after group shared expenses. Customer and the City will have several choices to get pleasant services. Drivers do not have to work extreme long hours. This allows drivers to spend some time with their family and they make better provisions for their family. It creates chance of having more work choices and less stress. They can expand their customer base business and services by having their own universal dispatching system using simple means of technology at affordable cost and effective modern technologies such as using smart phone apps which is approved by the City or computerized one. And they will have the opportunity to manage their business more efficient and effective as true independent contractors.

The second question: What effect does this have on existing fleet cab company operators. The companies can have their medallions that they have now under their company to run their business. Indeed, it is not fare for the City to revoke and dismiss the company out of business. However, the city must make one of the biggest observations that have been dismissed in the taxi industry and that is is the operations of failed Taxi companies system that neglect drivers rights and treat drivers as slaves.  The drivers who work under these failed companies are suffering and then they pass this attitude and burden to the customers by over charging and being uncourteous. In fact these are the reasons why we need change in the industry.

There must be evaluation and monitoring into these companies policies to see if they are worthy of continued operations. It also creates market computation in the industry and allows alternative choice provision for drivers and the riding public.

Therefore by giving medallion for both (the drivers group and cab companies) equally then the City in the future will have choice between drivers group cab operation system or Cab Company cab operation system then offer more additional medallions for the groups with best service and better business success by evaluating both choices at fixed time near future in three-fives period. So it doesn’t affect market or customers access to the service rather it will make drivers’ life better with good management system and better regulation. The current system allows drivers to work with company as dependent contractor not true independent contractor. Cab companies are true independent contractor because companies can do whatever they like. They terminate drivers for unjustified reasons, increase lease amount any time they want without the City approval. In such conditions this do not make drivers independent contractors.

So under such conditions it is hard to call drivers independent contractor while drivers are getting commands from Cab Company about how to operate their business from cab companies. Hence, cab companies can terminate drivers contracts agreement at any time for whatever reason. They can increase fees for medallion lease anytime, or anyway they like to the drivers. There is no penalty or appeal or due process if cab companies wrongly terminate drivers contract agreements. The current system allows companies for monopoly and no market computations at all because the system allows the same company to grow without improving business for the drivers, and without providing better service for riding public. During the medallion issuance in the past, cab companies have got every opportunity to resolve these above issues without having other alternative as an option in business computation for service improvement. But now we believe in business computation and free market economy where every citizen can apply for the same job equally and benefited from the computation fairly more importantly human right must be protected to work together mutually.

Also we believe that individuals or companies with best deeds must be rewarded and others must be terminated. There must be clear guidance about requirement for taxi operation in a measureable way so the City can evaluate and monitor cab company performance in the future because cab companies are using medallions which is public property for public service like public school or public hospitals. Authority must evaluate tasks and the risks of these public service provider agencies like schools, hospitals, or service provider sectors like airport or ground transport systems for their work safety, quality service or employee and general public right. All good public service provider agencies shall be rewarded with additional budget and bad public school/hospitals must be closed because they do not serve the public in efficient and effective ways. In the same way taxi medallion is public property issued by the City for public services. All qualified candidates must have equal access to this public property. Also there must be appealing or due process for company work relation against drivers that is defined by the City.

The City has to protect wrongful work termination that applied to any driver for unjustified reasons or reasons has not proved by the City hearing committee before hand over medallion to the companies for the safety of its driving work force safety. Therefore in order for the drivers to work with cab companies there must be a drivers Bill of Right created which allows the drivers to complain, comment, negotiate, speak and give their suggestion on how to improve their business with their company without any fear of losing their job. In both options above the city must intervene for the work safety of the driving work force and riding public service against any retaliation.


UHTDA is organization founded by Greater Houston Texas taxicab drivers who come together voluntarily to improve their service to customers, their income and promote good communication with all in 2011. The association has about 600 strong, dedicated and committed united members. We are ready for change and believe our union shall continue strong on bases of good intention. The association has its legal certificate of formation from the Secretary of the state Texas as nonprofit organization.


UHTDA is coordinated by its committee members who selected by their members basically to seek better life and opportunity for all drivers as true independent contractors. UHTDA members include all taxicab drivers licensed by the City of Houston regardless of Cab Company a driver may drive for without any discrimination of race, gender, religion, origin and other form of factors. As UHTDA, we do collectively assume leadership, responsibility, and management role in Houston taxi industry operation.


  • To organize taxi activities, motivate members and promote professionalism based new ideas and new technology by forming drivers cab companies.

  • To seek better income, business opportunities, and get freedom of being true independent contractor in the industry.

  • To establish safe work environment and create smooth communication with all.

  • To establishes justice and fairness for all drivers in legal matters that affect drivers’ life in their day to day activities.

  • To mobilize all our resources and achieve high standard customer satisfaction in taxi ride service in our City to enhance Houston friendly.


  • Unamended City Ordinance for Taxi service

  • Economic dependence and economic hardship

  • Communication gap, lack of administrative and organizing body in the industry from the driver’s side.

  • Lack of job security, retaliation, no benefit and unequal shareholders right for drivers protection.

For these above problems we will explain them here below why we want to focus on them under each topic. These four major topics have their own explanations and sub topics that are defined thoroughly for insight descriptions on these matters.


City ordinance is the document that states policies, rules and regulations about taxi industry. In the City of Houston, the City ordinance that deals with the taxi cab operation is chapter 46. You can read and see the ordinance from the City web site for how, when, by whom and for the ordinance was written. Taxi cabs and other vehicles for hiring are highly regulated by the City of Houston which imposes just on driving work forces only. Currently, the City ordinance for taxi cab is not amended and does not reflect drivers’ interest in most causes.

Therefore there are some limitations in the Ordinance which can be the cause for major problems in the industry as stated above then as a consequence we the drivers we are suffering. The City was lost its revenue also it will lose in the future unless we fixed these matters now. The general public does not get service they supposedly have under unclear Ordinance. So the City needs to amend its City Ordinance that regulates the taxi industry to be transparent and protects the rights of customers, drivers and owners alike.

In the past the City Ordinance has been designed based on information given to city government by cab company owners and there was no drivers input. Therefore, we as an organization is committed to give our input to this City ordinance amendment phase, and we need the City to review and incorporate the following major ideas:


In the city ordinance drivers are considered to be independent contractors while drivers are operating under command, regulation and direction of cab companies now. If we must be independent contractors then we want to be true independent contractors in our business to run our taxi business freely by obeying the rules and regulations set by the City. No certification process was implemented to make us independent contractors. This status was placed upon us to escape the issuance of benefits and taxation by company owners. We want to be true independent contractor like other professions who are licensed by the City such as electricians, plumbers, mechanics, and others equally. We believe the drivers must be granted the choice of being true independent contractors. We cannot afford to live under the mercy of a few cab companies. We demand direct work relations with the City without third party involvement.


In general as the City we have closed contract process which designed to the cab companies’ advantage. It was created by cab companies just only to protect their business interest. And it reflects only and only company agenda. In some cases cab companies and drivers do the contract agreement just by oral consent. There is no mechanism for any agency to check drivers’ work contract status to help drivers in legal issues whenever some things happened to drivers. Therefore the City let cab companies’ with this open contract formation system so they do everything open their way against drivers will or without any check and balance. If the contract exists drivers even have no right to ask a copy of their contract agreement in most cases. Therefore the City must formulate well established reasons and procedures why drivers’ contract can be terminated if there is any. Contract signing process must be proved by the City for drivers work safety and shall be transplant during agreement. Contract agreement shall be simple to the level the drivers understand in terms of its size, content, has to include drivers’ rights and obligations. Each company must submit copy of signed contract by both parties to the City as part of formal procedure in the City drivers file folder to be reviewed by the City hearing committee in case driver or company has complained.


The fleet operating companies in Houston which possess the largest amount of medallions are company with full dispatching or with some dispatching system like Yellow Cab and Lone star Cab Company followed by some other generic cab companies without dispatching system. There is no individual driver own or group of drivers owned Cab Company at all so far. All drivers work for existing cab companies for unknown reasons. The cost for medallion lease is based on what service the fleet offer to the drivers and what drivers provide to lower their medallion lease fee like provision of their own vehicle with all expenses goes to the driver to maintain their vehicles and search for trip anyway, working long hours, and accept all pressure comes from cab companies. Medallion fee annual for the cab companies is only $ 541.00 dollars and cab companies subleased to cab drivers for minimum $ 8925.00 dollars just with insurance fee covered by cab companies up to 33,072.00 dollars if some cars and dispatching system are from companies annually.

Therefore most of the taxi drivers are operating at incomes that are under the poverty level because of extremely high medallion lease fee and other expenses for vehicle services are sky rocketing. In most cases drivers are subjected to use their strategies of working long hours waiting on dispatched fares, stay at hotel stands and work at airport staging lot for fares. Some other drivers would benefit from having minimum stress so they prefer working on the hotel stands, airports, and maintaining their own customer base work and get minimum payment for service. Companies never offer any benefit to drivers on services under their companies.

Perfect example for such example is some Lone star cab company drivers who sublease medallions from companies and other generic cab companies’ drivers. These companies are given medallions by the City then they in turn sublease medallions out to drivers allowing the drivers to put their own company name on the medallions they got from city. Basically, these Lone star cab company and other generic cab companies were granted these medallions because of an expressed need to serve a larger growing community. Here there are many issues and questions to be asked regarding to the fleet operating cab companies in Houston like the following questions.

So why should a licensed driver have to sublease a permit from cab companies when they could get the same medallion permit directly from the City in the same way these cab companies get from the city itself? What kind of business opportunity does the company offered to their drivers? What are different things that cab companies done differently drivers services towards the whole industry improvement? How many customer they served so far? Why the City continuously provides medallions for Cab Company more without checking the service they provided to customer and drivers to change their life? Why the cost for medallion has no lease cap? Etc.

Indeed there is something very wrong with this picture. What if instead drivers should be allowed to obtain permits from the City and pay reasonable annual fee for the service? Therefore it is time now for the City to look for other alternative by making direct business and service agreement with its drivers over continuously trying the same failed system. Of course, this subleasing of medallions justifies the fact allowing drivers to lease permits directly from the City and drivers are the one running the industry. The City does not need any third party in our business affairs. Therefore it is very important for us to have direct communication with our city in this business and service journey to benefit both drivers and the City by offering drivers direct medallion distribution to drivers as alternative choice with the current system.



In the current system medallion definition, medallion distribution and its lease system   were not defined well in the ordinance. We believe that Medallions are public and City property. Medallions are given by the City to cab companies for public service and should be regulated by the City itself for protection all groups involved (drivers, cab companies, riding public and the City). Medallions are not commodity for sell and should not be sold in the future as well. Medallions are not cab company innovated/produced property which required processing, manufacturing, shipping and handling, or any additional man power to change raw materials into final products like other productive or merchandise companies like Wal-Mart, banking, medical, or technology companies. Therefore the cab companies cannot do whatever they want on this public property their way and any way. Of course they can control their vehicle for hiring which they purchased with their money to run the business, their company business name, or any other equipment they put in their taxi vehicles for business and communication purposes surely can be considered as their property but medallion is not. Cab companies are simply a trustee team on the medallion issue because the city gave them a public and City property for public service fairly. Medallions are not materials which one can get them from other sources in competitive manner like other items (electronics products, food items or others). So fare drivers have no free choice to get medallion easily for themselves because there was no proper regulation. There must be means to regulate medallion to avoid monopolization of medallion by few. It is only the City which provides medallion so the City has obligations to regulate the industry. Regulation should protect all parties in the industry equally drivers and cab companies alike. Citizen must have equal access fairly to public property for equal work opportunity provision and get equal protection. Basically every profession has its reasonable requirement of qualifications to qualify as a candidate for specific job license permission based on established governing agency policy. Therefore like other profession, medallion issuance process for taxi industry must have its well established criteria/s equally.

Therefore now onward the City has to establish qualification for medallion distribution, medallion lease cost adjustment, well defined criteria who get medallion as a driver or company, clear methodology about medallion calculation, reasons for medallion termination by the company or by the city if there is any, what procedural steps that one shall follow during medallion termination and appealing process if it happen in case, restriction of medallion sale, and procedure for medallion transfer. The city must establish, define, provide and adjust mechanism as rule and regulation to monitor and evaluate the industry to control monopolization.



The city of Houston gives medallion/ permits for taxi operation to cab companies in most cases and the new applicants who is very few drivers in number each time medallions distribute. Once cab companies received medallion from the City then they subleased to the drivers. In other word, Cab companies leased medallion from the City and subleased to drivers. Therefore, cab companies are direct true independent who can do whatever they want on their business and Cab Drivers are dependent contractor on the cab companies for their business to get medallion and other commends currently. So we need clear criteria for medallion distribution which will be different from the current system that does not govern drivers as slaves and put companies on the upper class as a master. The City must end the system of taxation without representation and look toward new way of forming equal work opportunity for all without creating class division among its citizens on its own property.

For your information currently, medallion distribution ratio in the ordinance favors a few permit holders (cab companies) in the ratio of 95% to cab companies and 5% for the new applicant drivers whom their number is more than 2400 drivers. Socially, economically, and morally this is against the civil right law because it is socially, ethically or morally not right because it is against civil right, antitrust law, and free trade agreement. This means it is against antitrust law hence such system promotes monopolization. It is against free trade agreement acts since it does not allow free market computation. So it is immoral, against humanity, unethical, and against civilized society belief so it doesn’t meet the civil right law. Therefore we encourage and demand the city to use the following fair way of distributing medallion for all to end class welfare for hard working work force.

Plan 1.1: As stated above, Medallions/ permits are the city property and they must be given directly to drivers primarily to benefit the City to increase its revenue and generate more income for drivers. This approach will create Professionalism and enhances quality customer service. Because of one permit, one car and one driver it is easy to maintain each car and help formation of drivers group to give outstanding quality customer service for the riding public. Also it leads to less stress, more income for drivers and much better revenue for the City too. In summary, to give more permit for the same company all the time is to make few rich but to give medallion to drivers is to allow more cash spending for personal and family expenses so it benefit the City for economic growth. This new system will help drivers to have free choice in their services and help the riding public to have more choice of services. Moreover it opens new window of opportunities for new entrepreneurs who want to improve their life and business by allowing business computation among cab companies and drivers in the future.

Plan 1.2: We believe in equal work opportunity for all so the cab companies can compute for medallion if at least the following four conditions are full filled as precondition for drivers’ work safety protection and to promote customer service:

1.2. A). In order for the drivers to work with cab companies there must be drivers’ bill of right which allow the drivers to complain about unsafe work practices, comment, negotiate, speak and give their suggestion how to improve their business with their company without any fear of losing their job. In both options (option 1 giving medallion to drivers & option 2 giving medallion to cab companies) here above; the city must intervene for the work safety of the driving work force and riding public service against any retaliation or danger to future drivers’ work safety.

1.2 B).   The City must regulate the price of Medallion lease fee of all cab company to prevent overcharging drivers for medallion lease fee to drivers in the same way the City has established a flat rate for all trips that drivers make for their income to avoid overcharging customers. Accordingly, company must get fix flat rate on permit lease fees to protect drivers from over charged by cab companies. And the city must maintain lease cap for permit lease on cab companies not to charge drivers’ beyond what drivers can earn from the industry. Medallion lease price/fee must be based on cost and benefit analysis approach of each company but it should not be according to cab companies will or wishes like in current system to get excess profits.

1.2 C. There must be due process, anti retaliation clause, evaluation and monitoring procedures on the company-driver work relation. Therefore the City must regulate these public properties by establishing taxi operation governing future law make sure every group obeys such law.

1.2 D. Companies must agree to offer drivers reasonable benefit and such agreement must be included in drivers-cab companies contract agreement presented to the City. Drivers have to get certain benefits like accident compensation, health, vacation and other benefits from their cab companies for work contract they may sign. And this signed contract agreement copy must be submitted to the City for due process for the hearing committee review in case of any dispute occur between drivers and cab companies. Therefore with these conditions on the table by the city can give chances to cab companies to protect its operators and offers business opportunity for cab companies. Therefore with these conditions given as awareness the City can give medallions to any cab companies for equal work opportunity at equal ratio in future medallion distribution like anyone driver.

So the City ordinance must have well defined rules and regulation to protect drivers’ full right like other companies. Companies must agree to improve working conditions of their drivers and create business opportunity at affordable cost to the drivers. We are confident that as organized drivers group we can do everything that the City set as a requirement for protection of drivers’ right under our group completely without preconditions, had we may be allowed to have equal chance for the same permits distribution computations as company in the future .

Plan 1.3: We suggest that the City shall make audits on existing permits for unused medallions within three months after and before issuance of additional medallions and reallocate any unused medallions for fair medallion distribution.

Plan 1.4: We encourage the City to assign special committees from taxis, limos and supper shuttles drivers and the City department representative as a future taxi, limo, and super shuttle commission which shall include drivers’ representatives, cab companies representatives, airport GT management teams, City Council Members representatives, and ARA as a chair of commission who study all taxi industry problems and come up with resolutions to implement as a new changed policy every two years on even calendar years like 2014, 2016, and etc. This will allow the city to review it taxi policies, improve the weakness, and pass new taxi resolution all the time.




In calculating the issuance of medallion the City did not included all necessary factors as a methodology for calculation the numbers of medallions shall be issued each time. As a result of this deficiency in the factors inclusion in calculating medallion needed to add the City issue under estimated number of medallions. So as organization we believe the City must include the following nine (9) points as factors for medallion distribution and methodology for calculating the issuance of medallion fairly.

1. D. 3. 1). Primarily, medallion calculation should be based on Airport trips. Since Houston airport system collects its trips data periodically. In general, we can say our major airports are primary source for all taxicab trips so we agree with the City position to have airport trip as a factor to calculate the medallion issuance.

1. D. 3. 2). The City can use certain percentage such as (5, 10, 20, or 25%) of all airport trips to calculate trips in the hotels as trips from the City because majority of customers who come from airports to the City they going back to airports after their business trips. Also in the same way the City can use additional trip sources for medallion calculation all trips in the City such as trips from bars, clubs, schools, hospitals, shopping centers, and malls as inside City trips in relative percentage as above in calculating to proof need for medallion issuance. In this near future we are expecting our both major airports shall grow in their internal capacity and level of service by opening new fight options to different major international cities and by growing their capacity to levels international levels W. Hobby airport as example.

1. D. 3. 3. The City must do its audit on unused medallions by permit holders in some time like three months before and after new medallion issuance to avoid wastage of medallion and distribute if there is any to the group most wanted it.

1. D. 3. 4. Prevent all illegal trips and partial treatment among service providers. Normally, taxi drivers, we get the left over trips from limos, supper shuttles and illegal taxi service providers pickups because of solicitation for trips in the City limit is common. In other words, trips are sold at the hotels are common inside the city and air port terminals especially by town cars/limos drivers. Therefore proper trip regulation will increase the number of trips. So to increase result in the medallion calculations there must be strict enforcement on illegal trips pickups in all City hotels and in all major airports. Therefore the City must approve sever fine /penalty on those doing involved in illegal trip pickups and sell trips illegally anywhere in the City on all service providers personnel including hotels services providers staffs.

1. D. 3. 5. The City can use certain percentage such as (5, 10, 20, or 25%) of our City total population growth as factor to be used for the calculation because our City population is increasing from time to time. Taxi riders (customers) are not customers from airport but also our City residents for residential area trips. We believe that the need for taxi by resident will increase automatically. So we must include this in the city calculation for proof of medallion is needed

1. D. 3. 6. Assess the need for medallion issuance based on how many new drivers’ applicants are applied, and how many drivers really need the permit as true independent contractors. Focus on how many drivers need the medallion to become independent contractor during all medallions issuance time by setting clear requirement process for medallion distribution. Hence, drivers need medallion to operate taxi business independently.

1. D. 3. 7. We believe the city has adequate number of drivers who is active driver now. Our City must temporally restrict giving taxi driving license for non active drivers unless the need for drivers is proven by the City. This can be used as regulatory mechanism to prevent issuance of excess medallion at one time and help in medallion calculation.

1. D. 3. 8. We believe every driver must go through customer service training and business awareness training. Then whoever passes the requirement set by the City must be offered the choice of driving for himself under drivers’ group companies or driving for the cab companies as a free choice. In order to provide such training by the City there must be specific number of drivers to be approved to get taxi driving Licenses and must finish Citywide taxi training before operating taxi in specific time of the year. Drivers who successfully complete the training must granted choice to work for themselves or work with cab companies with protection rules on the ground for the drivers’ bill of rights against company retaliation or unsafe work condition.

1. D. 3. 9. Amend the current City ordinance for fair medallion distribution because in current City ordinance medallion distribution favors about (95% for companies and only 5% goes to drivers regardless of drivers’ interest, experience in the sector, and other factors that make drivers more qualified for medallion holder position to run our business independently. So what we are asking the City this time is we the drivers, we deserve complete chance of giving 100% medallions for all or members as drivers group cab company and cab companies can maintain the medallions on their hands with improving the services for drivers at affordable cost and drivers’ work right must protect.

Therefore, if the City process medallion distribution methodology in these above ways in fair, transparent ways and balanced approach then all involved party will be beneficiary from the industry. We believe that if our City regulates, facilitates and adjusts taxi cab industry policy (City Ordinance) operation system regularly, then the need for medallion is never end.


We believe that Medallion should not be sold because selling medallion will allows monopolization of medallion under very few rich teams only because it will be hard for the City to involve in private property once the City sold medallion. Therefore it will be more concerned for the driving work force regarding to selling medallion if there is any such proposal in the future city from our past work system experience. Because the City cannot regulate such system in the future hence we have learned from current experience now as the City keep saying regularly that the City can/ does not want to involve between two independent contractors matters after giving cab company medallion lease at reasonable lease fee to them by the City itself to the cab companies annually. Therefore if the City cannot regulate or intervene on this public property now then how the City can regulate, protect, or adjust any change later once the City sold the medallion to someone because sold medallion will be become a private property. Selling medallion will create more suffering for the drivers but only great advantage for some few others who want abuse and manipulate system because the City cannot involve in any private property.

Therefore it does not sound right to sell the medallions by the City, individual companies or individual who the City awarded them for public service purpose. Therefore can you imagine giving a family member or friend gifts so they turn around continuously sell them? The city must make the sell for medallion illegal in the City ordinance clearly in the future. So individuals cannot in turn sell them to someone else they like or agreed with but it can be transferred on legal, moral, or ethical ways to individuals who need most after hearing committee approval to new applicant/s on the waiting first list or to family who depend only on the medallion as a source of income after approved by the City. These reasonable transferable legal, moral, or ethical ways can be during chronic illness which unsafe to drive , death of principal permit holder, leaving Houston taxi operation for good reasons or by any legal discipline actions when medallions revoked by the City after formal hearing committee approval.


With the current system only cab companies are making almost free money at expense of hard working drivers cost. We as driver worked hard and try to make descent income for ourselves and for our family to survive like other hard working citizens. We are not asking for the government hand out or welfare but the system in place never let us to achieve a goal everyone dreams. We still work in the system of taxation without representations of slave-master work relationship in this modern time. Here below we tried to demonstrate major differences between drivers and cab companies expenses for the City evaluation.



Majority case drivers we provided our cars and some drivers work for cab companies. If vehicle for taxi is from the drivers then the drivers covers every cost goes with car services, maintains, property tax, and other fees to operate business. Here below is some of drivers’ cost and companies’ minimum cost to operate taxi in Houston.





Drivers’ cost


Cab Companies cost


Car purchase


13000.00 +


Signs and installation fees


200.00 +


Color painting/ title transfer


500.00 +


stool light/meter/radio


Onetime payment company pay


Medallion lease


8,925.00 per year


Insurance and 541.00 for permit lease from the City per year


10% senior discount on their ride


Drivers pay




35-45.00 /day


EZ Tag


40.00 +/month


Property tax




Oil change




Tire purchase




Car services and maintains


1000.00 +/year


Cell phone/ receipts/ business cards




Radio/ dispatching computer


May/ may not apply installation fees


Material and installation fee may/ may not apply


Dispatching fee


Drivers pay


Credit card exchange fee




Table 1: Cost related to taxi operation between drivers and cab companies if taxi vehicle is provided by drivers.

From the above table we can learn most expenses to operate taxi is covered by the drivers by looking at drivers’ cost column in compare with cab companies’ cost column. Also the table proves that drivers are the one who running the industry in most cases by providing all necessary tools for the industry to operate. So why should we need the third party involvement while we can pay, work, or manage the operation directly with the City-drivers contract on the base of clear City rules and regulations?


In Houston drivers’ income is adjusted by the City and established based on need base assessment for driver income. The City adjusted and approved customer trip fare in fix flat rate or the meter rate system to prevent customer overcharge which any reasonable person can agree on what the City decide to protect the customers so we drivers. On the daily base typical airport taxi operator she/he makes two (2) trips in 12-14 hours work hours at amount of income range from 110.00 Dollars up to 150.00 dollars depend on which city limit she/he got. For this info evidence proof check airport trip track of most drivers from G. Bush airport system data base if there is no cheating through illegal trips.

However, the cab companies have absolute right to choose any method, ask, put, increase or decrease medallion lease fee their way for their business and the City never involved in protecting the drivers. This medallion lease fee amount ranges 8925.00 Dollars up to 33,072.00 Dollars annually based on their services. Regarding to medallions lease fee to driver by cab companies there are many unanswered questions for undefended reasons. Some of those questions are as follow for your evaluation.

For example, no one knows who set the first price and the current one. No one knows how we get to this price in the first place in anywhere in the City legal document. There is no cost and benefit analysis for the companies to increase or decrease medallion lease fee but drivers income is adjusted by the City. Therefore we have different amount for medallion lease as we tried to show in the following table how much each company charge and what they offer as benefit for the driver. Why this much difference and who set this price are questions that the taxis study report must answers?So far the City has no any mandate, rules, and regulation about how much cab company has to make from industry. There is no lease cap to limit lease fluctuation and to protect drivers’

N.B to see how much drivers under each cab company group pay for medallion lease fee each week just divided the total annual fee in each column by 51 weeks of the year.



Cab company category


Cost of permit lease yearly in Dollars


Cab Companies cost


Driver who have their Own car but only lease permit without dispatching System (all generic cab companies)




Insurance + 541.00 for permit lease from the City per year


Drivers who lease car and permit from generic cab companies




Maintenance, Insurance and 541.00 for permit lease from the City /year


Drivers who have their Own car but only lease permit under drivers' company name




541.00 for permit lease from the City /year


Drivers who lease car and permit from lone star/ Liberty Cab Companies




Insurance, 541.00 for permit lease from the City /year, Dispatching and maintenance


Drivers who lease car and permit from Greater Houston Cab Company




Maintenance, Insurance, and 541.00 for permit lease from the City/ year


Drivers who have their Own car but only lease permit with dispatching System companies




Dispatching, Insurance and 541.00/year for permit lease from the City


Drivers who lease car and permit from dispatching cab companies


33, 072.00


Maintenance, Insurance , 541.00/year for permit lease from the City, dispatching, and car purchase



Table 2: this table above shows just medallion lease cost in Greater Houston per Cab Company

Therefore we need the City to develop and put a lease cap for permit lease to protect drivers not to be over charge by company depend on cost and benefit analysis of each company for fairness. We are confident and optimistic that the city will review the current plan with our future offers to save this public property for the public uses. We believe the City may use this revenue from such sources for construction of our bridges, schools, or other public services than we give away this money to individuals at unregulated rate. We can make effort to secure these above facts to happen and it shall be true if we work together. We believe direct communication of drivers group with our city will absolutely benefit us, the City, and general public by all means in future City plan.


We believe that dispatching system establish customers-drivers relation. Currently most cab companies have no well equipped dispatching and credit card system which generates more revenue for drivers and connect them with customer for the trips. Companies which have dispatching system are continuously charging drivers’ too high price for their integrated dispatching and credit card system in addition to their permit lease because of their system.They force drivers to use their and only their system and punish drivers who does not use their system. In each credit card transaction drivers will be charged 5 % and above from their fare. However, usingnew technologies are pushing taxi cab companies in the country help to start dispatching and credit card processing easily with smart phone easily everywhere and anyone. But for their business advantage cab companies force drivers for their hidden plan. 

Therefore one of the major complaints from the drivers is the force of use of the owners’ equipment because it’s the companies’ economic advantage, yet it is a disadvantage to the drivers.  Hence if drivers fail to comply with company policy regardless many options may drivers and customers can have regarding to integrated dispatching and credit card still the company are terminated the drivers forcefully to push drivers into their economic advantage. Such policy is found on the credit card equipment and absolute restriction by companies on its option that the drivers and customers may have to get the service and has no any reason so far for such sanction to be imposed by cab companies. Indeed such unfair actions must be evaluated by City regulators to advantage of all party involved including inviting third party dispatching system at reasonable cost.

To alleviate such problem in the future we want to create our own universal integrated dispatching and credit system which is affordable and easy which help customers to get taxi service in all city limits. For dispatching system we believe it can be done in several ways as follow for fair service.

a) Universal drivers owned dispatching system in which organized or individual drivers can form themselves their own dispatching system, share every expenses to run the system and operate by others personals.

b) Universal city owned dispatching system at affordable price for the service which helps the city collect some revenue from the service easily.

c) Universal non-taxi cab company (third party owned) dispatching system at affordable price for the service and should be regulated about the price and its service by the city

d) Universal taxi cab company owned dispatching system at affordable price for the service and should be regulated about the price and its service by the city

Credit card payment option: We believe that our customers are loyal to us and they deserve to credit card or cash payment option without any objections or doubt to attract our market toward the industry. However what we cannot afford and is not justified the is credit card process fee that imposed on the drivers or to customers. We are working with different agencies to lower cost as low as 2% credit card processing fee which may drivers and customers share fairly 1% each in onetime credit card transaction. Once we reached agreement with any legal bank or other third party in smart phone credit card app we will refer such companies to City approval for the safety of customer card transaction confidentiality. Therefore cab companies cannot force the drivers to use their system but they can put their machine in their vehicle voluntarily.



There was a communication gap between the driving work force and the City in the past. Only cab companies communicate and act on behalf of their drivers. This gap in communication cost the drivers to just observer for nothing as the time and different administration system by pass. This time and in the future driving work force have its representative and must be a key role player in the business and their future life in building best and constructive relation with all the City administrative body. Therefore to full fill and take shared responsibility in this business journey we will be on the front line to protect our right, promote our business now and represents our members and others drivers as representative body for future communication. We will continue and have great feeling to contribute new ideas, technology and new thought toward industry improvement with good faith and intentions without violating others freedom, liberty and persuade happiness by working legally, fairly and equally to improve their lives.


During past decay evolutions in the industry have seen many changes. Currently we are at the state of one of those changes where all involved parties in the industry agree to have amended City ordinance regarding to taxi operation in the City of Greater Houston. It should not be the aim of the City to issue taxicab licenses, and then let its taxi operators to produce incomes that are less than the poverty level. Therefore we as drivers from this Great City we come together set our strategy to improve our own customer service, establishes ways how to protect drivers’ right, and create means to overcome challenges in the industry to the best of our knowledge and capacity without violating the right of others to compute in the industry. Now it is time for taxi drivers to have the option working for themselves after receiving their license to operate either as true independent contractor by having their own permit or medallion in group by forming their own company and ask the City to offer this organized drivers the chance of getting the status of true independent contractor so that they will have window of opportunity.

In the future, the City shall allow us to form company our company so that we will have one uniform color scheme, simple and effective universal dispatching system by using simple technology, provide well maintained individually owned vehicles for services, we will pay medallion fee to our City at affordable fee which related to medallion service fee individually or collectively as the City required, drivers will handle customer services in group, and drivers can create one administration body for drivers group like in Dallas, Denver, Minnesota, New York generic cabs, Washington DC, or Prince Georg County of Maryland cities drivers.


We organized drivers through our board of director research and budget proposal to run organization, we will collect from our members based on certain time a minimum cost possible just to run the organization, handle some drivers issues, facilitate organizational affairs, and pay salary for customers service provider staffs. Other cost related to insurance, vehicle purchase, taxi maintenance or other vehicle service be covered by individual drivers. Income from the industry directly goes to the drivers directly not to association benefit.


All members will purchase one time meter, dome light, radio, credit card process machine or other safety equipment individually or in group. Once this equipment purchased by individual drivers in uniform standard, at affordable price, installed data monitors accessory of all service will be processed to one center for future taxi service planning purposes. Drivers will paint their vehicle selected drivers group future cab Company color scheme then make ready for vehicle inspection by the City at individual level at their driver expenses per the medallion issued. Medallion service fees can be collected individual or we as organization we will collect submitted to the City. Organized drivers can hire their coordinators, service organizer officers and dispatching team then operate the new system.


We encourage computation in market and open business opportunity for business partners to grow together. To promote computation among different service providers we will identify them and will contact them to provide any car repair services such as mechanically, body work, electrically system or other services for our taxi vehicles. So we will organize, find and establish business relationship with several car care centers in different City limit which are known as populated taxi operation zones like Down Town, Galleria, both major airports and other major taxis districts. Our customer service care team will identify, allocate, and negotiate service agreement with such centers and provide signed agreement plan between drivers group and these car care garages to the City for the City site inspection approve work safety of such workshops. This will help drivers to safe their money through membership services, increases car repairing centers income and help our City economy to grow by avoiding monopoly under few.


We allow our drivers to have optimal benefit from the services they provided. These benefits are as follow

Drivers will have freedom to lease their permit to other drivers for some time when they are on vacation personally or with their family vacation, sick parent or family visit, educational opportunity or during sick. They can lease their vehicle and permit to other drivers in their full authorization with all insurance and other necessary fees covered by principal group member or permit holder.

Drivers will have freedom to work for themselves or company which ever they like

Accident coverage by insurance; In the ordinance it was stated that how, what, who, and when accident insurance cover property damage or personal injuries for passengers or property involved in accident with the exception of the driver. Driver is the key component of the industry has nothing in accident recovery whatever happens to him/her on the duty. We do not encourage drivers to involve in any accident but due to the nature of the industry, driver may involve in accident accidentally. But whenever driver gets accident, cab companies are using insurance claim as a weapon to eliminate most drivers. Therefore we must have the following issues on the table for the drivers and companies to choose.

1. Insurance policy shall include drivers’ injury and drivers have to get freedom to choose to buy their insurance policy which will be provided every three-six months in advance.

2. Insurance has to cover driver certain amount for drivers’ personal injury and property damage coverage in the case of accident happened due to other non taxi driver.

3. Company should not use as an excuse insurance to cancel drivers’ contract. Cab Companies have to provide their drivers a chance of being policy holder.

4. We believe drivers should get a chance to choose type of insurance, get covered and have to have payment opinions equally as companies.

5. we will organize ways to have health, life and property insurances at affordable value our members and other drivers at their well and payment.

We will organize group car purchase through membership discount and we will organize based on future members and others drivers suggestions.



In order to operate taxi business there must be clear and well established policies, rules and regulation to maintain drivers, customer, City and cab company rights. Our City has ordinance regarding to customers right and what are the drivers’ expectation to operate taxi in the City of Houston. We agree with security that has been in place on the customers’ safety and services aspect to protect riding public. Companies also did their contract policies, agreement, and rules which fit their business best interest. However, driver the key role player in the day to day activity in the industry has no any protection so far. So we as Taxi drivers here in the City of Houston organized to help promote improvements in the Taxi Industry in our city. Our first step was to identify problems in the industry and get some answers to improprieties that we had been experiencing in the industry. However, we did not see anywhere in the City document what secure drivers work safety.

To solve these many problems above we have decided to communicate about these issues among each other and with the various authoritative within in the City. We were so surprised to find out how receptive to industry improvements by the leaders in the City departments and how we were allowed to give input, recommendations, solutions, and permitted to become a part of the overall transition team to make these improvements to best interest of our city guests and residents. However, we did not think that a few permit holders would take this as an offense and threaten our working relationship with them through verbally, denying us the right to work for selfish reasons, deny all benefits they use to offer to their drivers, aggressively increase lease fee, showing drivers poor leadership role, or other form of retaliation threat and over all drivers company relation turned to mater-slave relation using public property as a weapon for punishment. We are trying just as everyone else on this industry transition team to make things better. We explained such change in behavior and service to the authority that regulate the industry their respond was the City never involve between two independent contractors until The City change the rules, regulations and policies that related to the taxi industry and we advice to be patient.

So, we were cooperative and ready to work with the department and others to make sure that the City planned program shall be successful. We want to continue our smooth and mutual communications with the authorities and all shareholders in this business journey.

However, currently we have had different situations of dispute between drivers who are our members who drive for different cab companies have gotten threaten, fired, and made drivers not ask a single issue regarding to their right and they did not like our direct communication with the City whatever change toward the industry for unjustified reasons. As result of such retaliations about four companies fired four drivers and the rest of us under great pressure coming from companies in fear come from losing our job.

Surprisingly, these drivers they bought new cars for almost for 16,000.00 dollars to put on their current medallion as usual and were ready to work with the same company the same they accustomed. Unfortunately, they get rejected verbally without any written notification of whatever reason may be said the drivers. So the company already took off their medallion not allow them to work with the company anymore. Other companies also may do the same approach to other drivers and fired them with baseless reasons. If the company continues to remove taxi permit/ medallion to stop drivers from their work and for the purpose they organized, being a member, leader of our organization, and ask for promotion of the industry then we believe this is unacceptable and unfair so we need the City to involve and settle this matter at lower level possible. There is a very important reason why we bring up this mandate to our City in the context of such actions by the taxi owners need immediate attention because taxi industry is a highly regulated industry and fair regulation must protect all stakeholders. But the taxi industry in Houston, as in most American cities, is highly regulated in relation to what, how, where, when, and how much the drivers have to make from the industry by the City regulatory department. So why Houston is might be unique in being a city whose regulatory framework offers no protection for a key stakeholder the drivers. So we oppose such unjustified reason and threat toward our member and all other drivers not to lose their job. We believe medallions are public and City property. Cab companies are just the trustee of this public property which they may use appropriately it without violating drivers’ right of work without fear under the City guidance, regulation, and monitoring in a right way. The law has to protect all parties involved equally. Remember always the attack on one is attack all of us. We do really appreciate the City willingness to solve this incident and give permanent solution to the industry soon as it is promised us. So we need the authority in our city consider the following issues to solve these matters. For your usage we have attached below two attachments – I.e. Driver Bill of Rights and future taxis anti-retaliation clause code that provides drivers protection against retaliation from taxi companies as reference with what at least cab companies should full fill to operate their taxi business in the future to end all disputes. DRIVERS’ BILL OF RIGHT LEASE CAP: Cab company cannot be charged a lease rate that is more than the lease cap rates set by the City; lease caps are set per week/month/year period as necessary and are for a medallion lease (“Medallion-only”) or a medallion lease and a conditional vehicle purchase agreement for a vehicle (“All-in”) of six (6) consecutive days. The maximum lease caps per the City future Rules are listed below: “Medallion-only” Lease Cap (by future City Rule) A “medallion-

  • Cab Company must cover annual medallion and credit card transaction fees

  • All applicable City fees for the City annual vehicle inspection fees)

  • Insurance as required by the City rules and driver must have choice to policy holder right

  • Drivers may not accept payment for the lease or purchase of a vehicle. Any other agreements between the owner and driver must be outside of the lease. If it occurs all of these transactions must be recorded by the driver/permit holder cab company then be available for inspection by the City.

  1. “All-in” Lease Cap by the City future rule

    An “All-in” medallion lease and car purchase or cab lease from the cab company includes:

  • Cab Company must cover annual medallion and credit card transaction fees

  • All applicable City fees for vehicle inspection fees

  • Insurance as required by the City rules and driver must have choice to policy holder right

  • All vehicle purchase and/or finance costs and vehicle sales tax and related costs

  • Vehicle title must pass to the driver after certain weeks or after all vehicle payments are made, whichever is sooner. Transfer is not required if all payments have not been made.

  • Cab Company can offer vehicle collision coverage to the driver. The cost cannot exceed $30 per week, and the cab company cannot require that the driver purchase such coverage from them forcefully. Any other agreements between the Cab Company and driver must be outside of the lease. All of these transactions must be re-corded by both party driver and cab company and be available for inspection by the City whenever needed.



    Drivers must have a right to have a receipt for all transactions. (The future city rule)). The receipt must include:

  • Date & Medallion Number

  • Name of Recipient & Driver

  • Amount Paid

  • Purpose of Payment

  • Number of the City rule Authorizing

  • Payment or Deduction


    Drivers must have a right to a writtenlease signed by the company and driver; a copy of the lease must be made available to driver must included in the future city rule. All leases must include the following terms:

    Costs covered by the lease: The lease must state the total lease costand all items contained in that cost including: vehicle lease, medallion lease, security deposit, and any other costs.

    Reference authorizing rule sections: For each itemized cost (listed above), a reference to the future city rule authorizing the charge must be included.

    Overcharges: A clearly legible notice regarding prohibition of overcharges must be included.

    Cancellation charges: Must be reasonable charges and cannot be charged when driver is making timely lease payments. If the cancellation fee is charged, drivers are no longer obligated to make additional lease payments.


    All service and maintenance of leased taxicab vehicle is the sole responsibility of the vehicle owner either driver or cab company. Drivers must have the right to have the vehicle serviced where you want to service it.


    Drivers Own Vehicles (DOV) drivers have the right to receive payment in full of all credit card fares in cash at the end of period drivers except 1% transaction fee deductible per transaction or from total transaction and company must agreed upon.


    Drivers have the right to file for Workers Compensation if they are injured while performing their duties as a taxicab driver.

    RETALIATION: No retaliation by the cab company against any driver who makes a good faith complaint against an owner for violating these rules. There must be fine for violating such rules in terms of amount and service compensation. If there retaliation may occur then: (1) An Owner must not retaliate against any Driver for making a good faith complaint against any Owner for violation of the leasing provisions in future city rule. Retaliation will be broadly construed, and will include imposing any adverse condition or consequence on the Driver or withholding or withdrawing any beneficial condition or consequence from the Driver. Fine: certain amount of fine plus restitution to the driver for losses if Cab Company found guilty of retaliation against their drivers.

    To report a violation of these above rules or to ask question drivers can contact specific city department/committee as assigned in the future to handle these above misconducts.



We do not encourage conflict, dispute or any argument in our group or other cab companies’ policy. However, from experience there is a tendency of retaliation, abuse, harassment and other violation in the industry which are not benefit drivers, cab companies, or the City in general. So for work safety and during any dispute there must commission that resolve any dispute in it happened. Therefore we ask the City to propose and ask for separate commission or special council committee to oversee such complain if exist in the industry to monitor, evaluate, update, and provide immediate solutions for the as hearing committee. We believe our relation with the current department is great but they are just busy with all permit processing and enforcement. We believe these vehicles for hiring segment is considered as green industry for the City does not require the city any cost much. We believe the policies, regulation and incidents regulation systems are vital to the industries that are rapidly change with time and technology. Therefore if possible the City has to establish separate special commission which focuses on this green industry to regulate taxis, town cars, and supper shuttles etc.


We shall full fill every requirement that our City will put forward to operate taxi as individually or in group create our own true independent taxi company as alternative to existing system to free drivers and create justice and equal work opportunity for all

We shall assume responsibility in best way as private or in group to make industry better.

We shall train and give on job customers and business awareness educations

We shall take group leadership via elected leaders at fixed term from drivers’ side

We shall establish universal drivers’ owned dispatch then dispatch all drivers at reasonable price.

We shall organized driver owned dispatching system at affordable, simple, access sable to customers.

We shall provide a clean individual owned, well maintained, similar name and color vehicles for hiring under one management and administration that responsible for collection of fees, handle customer complains, monitor daily activity and compile with city requirement to be a company.

We shall participate in our City various social, economical, political, and other organizational activities.



As a taxi rider, customers will have the right to:

Customers can go to any destination unless risk for the safety of driver

Customers can request the route using the most direct route or one of their choices

Customers can have driver who knows city geography very well

Customers can have a safe and courteous driver who obeys all traffic laws

English is official language for communication in most case but Customers can have a chance to request a driver of their language on request

Customer will have a choice for payment in the form of credit card with minimum credit card fee added to total fare value as set by the city or cash with no additional fee at all to total fare value.

Customers have right to have air conditioning or heat upon request

Customers have right to have noise-free trip with no horn honking or loud radio

Clean air free of smoke and scent for pleasant smell

Working seatbelts for all passengers

Customers have right to have a clean taxicab, including interior, exterior and partition

Be accompanied by a service animal

Decline to tip because of poor service

Customers have right to have trip receipts at the end of fare.

Customers have right to have their designate driver.

National Comparison in Some Major Cities

We taxi cab drivers are part of the City and the city must serve its people. As a part of the city, we are not given equally opportunity under the law for equal work. In current taxi operation system only a few are benefited without making any effort for the industry. We have been treated as second class citizens. We deserve equality, justice and fairness. The time for partiality and monopoly must be changed. The city ordinance for the industry must operate under fairness and equality for all. We have been tolerating for so long, but due to current economic situation and the rising of permit lease from permit holders we are beyond our scope of tolerances any longer.

For the above difficulties and problems we organized in the form of an association to serve for the betterment of all drivers. Therefore, we have created our association for better management, follow-ups and regulation to represent drivers’ views, ideas, concerns, and suggestions to general public, to authorities of all levels, and Medias. Our association has been working with authorities of all levels to improve the quality of taxi service.

So, we are bringing to your attentions to look into these matters for the immediate solution via your authority to prevent such unfair treatment in the industry.

We shall make our contributions, comments, suggestions, and offer solutions for any current and future industry problems and look forward working with our City authorities, local, state, and federal similar organization in this business journey from united drivers for better change in good intensions.

Thank you,

UHTDA Managing Team,