Taxis block Minneapolis intersection, protest hotel-limo relationship

Dozens of cabs blocked the intersection of Marquette Avenue and 7th Street in downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday to protest the tipping of hotel doormen by limousine drivers. The cab drivers say doormen and concierges are accepting tips to put hotel guests into town cars, leaving their taxis waiting for fares.

Grant Wilson, licensing manager for the city of Minneapolis, says the cabbies blocking the street on Tuesday are the same drivers behind a Sept. 23 protest at city hall. The independent drivers are not affiliated with the city’s major cab companies, so they rely heavily on taxi stands for business.

Tipping of hotel employees is legal for limo drivers, who are licensed by the state, but it’s illegal for city-licensed cab drivers. Wilson said the city met with 5 representatives of the taxi group on Sept. 30 and Oct. 6, discussing the current laws and ordinances and how they could work together to make some changes.

The city proposed a change in ordinance that would give cab drivers the same tipping privilege as limo drivers, but that offer was rejected and the drivers have stopped meeting with city officials. Wilson said the city hasn’t received any similar complaints from the larger cab companies operating in Minneapolis.

Video credit: Eric Spottke