Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Minny-St. Paul airport to crack down on Somali drivers

Culture: Minny airport had enough of this and finally going to point out that the drivers are providing a public service and their refusal hurts the entire airport business and image-wise.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport wants to crack down on Muslim taxi drivers who refuse to carry alcohol or service dogs in their cabs. At a meeting Wednesday of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, airport staff asked the commission to give the go-ahead for public hearings on a tougher policy that would suspend the licenses of drivers who refuse service for any reason other than safety concerns. Drivers who refuse to accept passengers transporting alcohol or service dogs would have their airport licenses suspended 30 days for the first offense and two years for the second offense, according to a revised taxi ordinance proposed by the commission's staff. "Our expectation is that if you're going to be driving a taxi at the airport, you need to provide service to anybody who wants it," commission spokesman Patrick Hogan said. The full commission is expected to vote on the proposal for public hearings at its next meeting, scheduled for Jan. 16. About 100 people are refused cab service each month at the airport. Roughly three-quarters of the 900 taxi drivers at the airport are Somalis, many of them Muslim. In recent months, the problem of service refusals for religious reasons has grown, airport officials have said, calling it "a significant customer-service issue."
This blew up a couple of months ago and the public backlash forced the airport officials into action.

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