Taxi drivers at DFW Airport are worried some upcoming curbside changes will be the final blow in what’s become a losing battle with rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft.
The changes will go into effect January of 2019.
Currently, only a handful of taxi drivers at a time are allowed to park and wait for customers on the top levels of each terminal.
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Several dozen other taxi drivers spend five or more hours waiting their turn parked in a lot near the south entrance to the airport.
"I cannot even leave this place unless I get dispatched," said taxi driver Mohamed Yusef.
Taxi drivers feel they have more visibility on the top levels because that is where the ticketing and baggage claim areas are located.
However, beginning in January designated areas for taxi drivers, shuttle buses and limos will be moved from the top levels to the bottom levels of the airport.
This means customers will have to make their way to the lower levels to hail a cab.
"We feel we are losing everything in our business," said Yusef. "The airport doesn't even give a consideration for taxi drivers."
Taxi drivers say this is not fair especially because their biggest competition, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, will continue to be allowed on the top levels.
"They're the ones who need to come downstairs," said taxi driver Gus Tayeh. "Their prearranged customers know how to find them."
Since rideshare companies began to be tracked at DFW Airport there has been a 42% decrease in business for taxis, confirmed the airport’s spokesman David Magana.
Several taxi drivers tell NBC 5, they are lucky if they take home $80 a day after paying fees and tolls.
"Everybody is upset," said Tayeh. "These are hardworking guys who make a living feeding their families."
The airport is allowing rideshare vehicles to continue their use of the top levels because they actively load or unload passengers, unlike taxis which have to sit idle waiting on customers.
The changes are part of a bigger, phased-in effort by DFW Airport to ease ‘extreme congestion.’
Just two weeks ago, the airport announced changes to all curbside pickups and drop-offs.
No vehicles will be allowed to idle by terminals unless they are ‘actively’ loading or unloading travelers, beginning in September.
Taxi drivers say they’re not the ones causing the congestion issues, as they have designated parking spots they must stay in until they are hailed by a customer.
"We would like the airport to be fair and make the competition fair and equal," said Tayeh. "Whatever rules they make, making it equal and across the board."
Drivers who spoke with NBC 5 say they are asking airport leaders to give them a fighting chance to survive.
“We need [the airport] to listen to the drivers,” said Yusef. “They lost their business to Uber, Wingz and Lyft. Give consideration and leave us upstairs where we can see, communicate with the passenger.”
Magana said the airport will place temporary and permanent signs ensuring travelers know where they can catch a cab.