The city’s taxi drivers are working for well below the minimum wage and for a lot more than 40 hours a week, according to a report by the Legal Assistance to Microenterprises Project, or LAMP. The report, titled Driving Austin, Driving Injustice, paints a picture of the working life of an average Austin cab driver and offers recommendations to the City Council for comprehensive changes to the taxi system.
To create the report, LAMP, a project of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, reviewed the history of the current franchise system, studied systems in other major metropolitan areas, and surveyed 66 current Austin drivers. They found that the average driver in the city makes $2.75 an hour, which is $4.50 less than the federal minimum wage. Drivers clear between $150-200 per week. The report also says that the average driver works 12 hours a day, 6.5 days a week, and 51.5 weeks a year. Because drivers are classified as independent contractors, they don’t earn overtime or receive health insurance or other benefits.
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