Taxi drivers may take big hit during pope visit

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Cabbies we talked to still aren't happy that they will effectively be losing almost the entire weekend of business. (WPVI)

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announced Thursday that taxis will be running for a short period of time, even once the traffic restrictions go into effect for everyone else.

However, the cabbies we talked to still aren't happy that they will effectively be losing almost the entire weekend of business.

Taxis will continue to run in the city, even after the so-called traffic box goes into effect at 6 p.m. on the Friday of the papal visit. Taxis can go until 2 a.m. on Saturday morning to help move late-comers arriving into the city.

They'll then resume operations on Monday morning at 3 a.m. to get visitors out and on their way to places like the airport.

Cab drivers told us it's been a slow summer with more competition than ever from Uber and Lyft. They expected this papal weekend to be a huge moneymaker with a chance to help move around millions.

They did not expect to be out of commission for two full days.

One of those frustrated cabbies, Abe Lahrah, tells us, "I think that's a crazy thing because all our hope all summer was for the pope to get some business. But since they decide that, I don't know what we're gonna do. So we're just gonna park the taxis and wait until the pope leaves."

Another taxi driver, William Burns, says, "Because things are real slow right now. Plus, you got Uber and UberX. You got Lyft. Everything is going against you."

Kevin Murray is a doorman at the Loews Hotel. He said he feels for the cabbies, telling us "They gotta pay their lease every week. For three days out of that, how they gonna pay? So it's gonna set back a lot of people."

Meantime, he's still trying to figure out how he's going to get to work.

Murray says, "This is people's life we're talking about that works every day in the city - every day. We pay taxes. The pope doesn't pay taxes here - we do."

The mayor added that there will also be a handful of cabs available that are equipped for people with disabilities. He called that a high priority.

The mayor also added that this is still a preliminary plan. There still be more revisions as the papal vision approaches.

Related Topics:
religionpope francispope us visitworld meeting of families 2015taxiCenter City Philadelphia
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