DALLAS (CN) – Fed-up taxicab drivers sued Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport for its policy that allows drivers of compressed natural gas-powered cabs to jump to the head of the line.
The airport policy is meant to encourage cabbies to switch to the less environmentally harmful fuel.
But the Association of Taxicab Operators USA claims in Dallas County Court that the policy the airport board enacted on Jan. 5 is nearly identical to a policy it enacted in 2009, which the court threw out in a previous lawsuit.
The cabbies claim the airport miscontrued the previous judgment, when its spokesperson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that “the court in the first case dissolved a temporary restraining order enjoining enforcement of the first CNG preference and claimed that this allowed defendant to move forward with the new CNG preference.”
Nonsense, the cabbies say. They claim that the new policy is “operationally identical” to the one already voided, but that the defendant “cleverly – or cynically, depending perhaps on one’s perspective – completely changed the purported justification.”
Gone are justifications of improving regional air quality, promoting an air quality plan and “facilitating our fuel independence as a nation.”
In their place in the new policy is a quest to reduce mobile emission sources.
Only 137 of the 2,000 taxicabs licensed to operate at the airport use compressed natural gas, according to the Star-Telegram.
“All we’re trying to do is clean the air up,” airport spokesman David Magaña told the newspaper.
Magaña claims the airport has had a clean-air policy since 2000 and operates more than 600 CNG-fueled buses, trucks and cars. “This policy does not put anybody out of business,” Magaña said.
At the board’s Jan. 2 meeting, Ambassador Cab driver Jamal Ganamo said he and fellow drivers are not opposed to CNG, but oppose how the airport is implementing the policy.
“CNG should be implemented in DFW like any other city but it should not be at the expense of the drivers,” Ganamo said. “It should be at the expense of the government or the policymakers.”
The cabbies seek a temporary restraining order and injunction that are “virtually identical to those issued in the first case.”
They also ask that the case be transferred to state District Judge Gena Slaughter’s court because the judgment in the first case did not state precisely on what grounds the policy was voided.