Austin Chronicle – Taxi Ride to Nowhere

“We are free to drive any 15 hours a day we choose.” That’s a telling remark by an Austin taxi driver in a new report on local working conditions. Among the grim findings: The average driver income, including tips, is $200 a week (before taxes), without benefits or insurance – and that’s if he rides roughly 12-hour days, 6½ days a week, and takes unpaid “vacations” of perhaps half a week a year. A job once seen as that of an urban cowboy, enjoying freedom and independence, has instead become one of endless drudgery and danger for barely survivable wages.

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