With the two largest ride-sharing companies out of the picture, Austin’s taxi drivers finally had a reason to believe they could fight for a living wage by winning approval for a driver-owned cab company. After months of advocacy, the city council gave them the permission to create ATX Coop Taxi, the city’s fourth cab company. The drivers were ecstatic. After 18 months of organizing, they had driven their most urgent threat out of the city, and won a new way to control their wages and working conditions.
When it opened last month, ATX Coop Taxi — which has already raised over $425,000 in ownership shares from over 360 coop members — became the third-largest worker cooperative in the country. Drivers will see immediate savings. Driving for Austin’s other three cab companies costs the workers from $250 to $315 each week in “terminal fees,” while the coop’s weekly rate is just $131. In their first weeks with cars on the road, the new coop already controls a third of the taxi permits on the market.
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