taxi.jpgA caravan of taxicabs will depart from San Francisco City Hall this afternoon as part of a protest against the city’s policies governing the taxi industry.

The assembling of cabs comes in advance of a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors meeting on Tuesday that will address various issues, including the maximum rate that taxi companies can charge drivers for credit or debit card payment processing fees.

The protest is being organized by the Stop the MTA committee, a group of taxi drivers who say the SFMTA is lax in its oversight of the industry while taking money away from cab drivers to pay the salaries and benefits of SFMTA employees.

Organizer Brad Newsham said the agency has been “abusing” taxi drivers, who he says are losing business to the private car service Uber.

“We’ve got an absolutely demoralized workforce that’s being looted,” he said.

The drivers plan to gather at noon outside City Hall and then drive to Russian Hill, where they will caravan down the crooked part of Lombard Street, Newsham said.

Many of the drivers plan to attend Tuesday’s SFMTA board of directors meeting, scheduled for 1 p.m. at City Hall.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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