Prince George‚Äôs taxi drivers have filed a complaint with the county saying that out-of-county taxis were seen picking up passengers at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center last week.
‚ÄúDuring this time there were approximately 50¬†licensed Prince George‚Äôs taxicabs on hand at National Harbor waiting to service Gaylord customers. ‚Ä¶ (They) sat idly as Arlington and Washington flyer taxicabs picked up fares,‚ÄĚ wrote Beth Levie, a Washington-based organizer for the AFL-CIO in the complaint dated July 17.¬† The complaint was addressed to the Prince George‚Äôs Department of Public Works and Transportation, which oversees the taxi industry.
The county is investigating the case, agency spokeswoman Carol Terry said.
County cabbies cite a county code that says taxicabs registered outside Prince George‚Äôs ‚Äúshall have no rights to solicit business or transport other passengers in this County.‚ÄĚ Enforcement of the code could include a $1,000 citation.
Prince George‚Äôs cabbies have been at odds with Gaylord National since the resort made a decision to bring in a new private car service for guests.
Last month, Gaylord National launched the new service, provided by Veolia Transportation, that they say is a direct response to feedback from guests.¬† The resort company¬†said guests have complained about language barriers, route choices and the unpredictability of the meter system in the cabs.
Dwight Kines, a Veolia spokesman, said the company brought in vehicles from other jurisdictions because they were overbooked with reservations due to the mass check-out during a water emergency situation in southern Prince George‚Äôs.
‚ÄúWe could not count on taxis handling the overflow because we were informed that they were going to have a work stoppage ‚Ä¶ and we needed to be able to get the guests out reliably,‚ÄĚ he said.
Kines said the county taxicabs had a stoppage earlier this month during another large check-out at the hotel. Taxi drivers and their union leaders say they have not stopped servicing the facility.
Taxi drivers have been picketing in front of Gaylord for the past three weeks, protesting Veolia‚Äôs new car service. They say Veolia is pushing them out of National Harbor. Each day, between 100 and 200 taxi drivers serve the complex and its six hotels on the shores of the Potomac in Oxon Hill.
Bob Ross, president of NAACP of Prince George‚Äôs, said Monday at a news conference in front of the¬† Department of Public Works and Transportation in Largo that his organization is looking into the complaint. He said he is requesting meetings with county officials who oversee the industry.
If taxicabs from other jurisdictions are getting jobs, he said, they ‚Äúshould have been fined. ‚Ä¶ It is not fair, it is not legal.‚ÄĚ