Yesterday, Wednesday July 23rd, the Metropolitan Taxi Commission opted to postpone voting on changes allowing the company Uber to operate in St. Louis. The decision was not unanimous and members of the MTC were still pressing for a vote when Chairman Louis Hamilton adjourned the meeting.
Techli’s own founder and CEO Edward Domain was present at the meeting, and was escorted from the auditorium when he protested the MTC’s decision not to let him speak. Domain was the victim of a taxicab accident in 2013. He has reached out to the MTC over the last two years, asking for compensation for the accident that jeopardized his life. He has not yet received a response. “The Metropolitan Taxi Commission has been hiding from me since my accident in May of 2013,” Domain explained. “They continually refuse to do the right thing. It’s disgusting.”
Going into the meeting, Domain said his hopes were not high. “I hoped they would finally speak to me, but once again, they refused to do their jobs.” The commission opened the floor for what they claimed would be 45 minutes of allowing concerned citizens to voice their thoughts on the vote. However, after only 25 minutes, the commission closed the floor. “I was going to ask them why they ignored me for two years. Why their attorney lied about me repeatedly in public when I have documentation proving what he said is a lie. I was going to ask why horse carriages are insured for $1M and taxis only $200K.”
There were chants from the audience to allow Ed to speak about his experiences with the MTC. Ed himself came forward calling the commission cowards, only to be escorted from the room with another vocal audience member. “The fact I had to be removed because corrupt political appointees are afraid to do their job is just ridiculous.”
Concerns voiced at the meeting by supporters of Uber were drawing attention to St. Louis’s rank as a second-or third-tier American city. St. Louis is the largest metropolitan area in the United States to not have green-lighted Uber. “This is an embarrassment to St. Louis,” one audience member shouted out. Critics also pointed out the lack of liability the MTC has shown for its drivers and cars.
Opponents of Uber brought up their concerns that Uber might eliminate jobs for cab drivers in the city, along with Uber’s lack of a fingerprint background check for its employees. However, all of these concerns will have to wait to be addressed as the MTC has postponed the vote until August.
When asked about his plans, Domain was adamant that he would see this decision through to the end. “We will get ride sharing in St. Louis and there will be reform of the Metropolitan Taxi Commission.”
Watch a mini interview with Ed about the meeting here. Read Ed’s open letter to Mayor Slay and Steve Stenger here, and see his article on the obstacles facing cab drivers here.