Cab Drivers Picket Hotel's Choice to Hire New Car Service

By Tracee Wilkins
|  Wednesday, Jun 19, 2013  |  Updated 8:09 PM EDT
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A controversy is brewing tonight over taxi service at the Gaylord Hotel at National Harbor. Cab drivers are protesting the resort's decision to bring in a *new* car service for guests. The hotel says their customers prompted them to make a change. Our Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins explains.

Tracee Wilkins

A controversy is brewing tonight over taxi service at the Gaylord Hotel at National Harbor. Cab drivers are protesting the resort's decision to bring in a *new* car service for guests. The hotel says their customers prompted them to make a change. Our Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins explains.

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Independent cab drivers are picketing the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at the National Harbor in Maryland.

They say the hotel has hired a new car service for guests, making it harder for workers like Etenesh Dembel to get customers.

"I've been driving for over five years now," Dembel said. "I make more money [at Gaylord] than standing at the Metro and the people are nice."

Conflicts have risen between the independent cab drivers and hotel management, and resort officials have instead hired a new car service for guests, offering flat fees.

The following statements were provided to News4 by a hotel spokesperson, addressing cab service from the hotel.

"A trip to Capitol Hill took 90 minutes."

"I feel that I was taken advantage of by the cab service that your staff hailed for me to go back to Reagan Airport."

"A taxi to D.C. was $35. I wish more affordable transportation was available."

The spokesperson said reviews like those prompted staff to expand the hotel and convention center's contract with Veolia Transportation, which now includes black town cars and green and white hybrid cars.

"They are after our living," Dembel said.

Dembel says she and her fellow cab drivers want a separate cab stand in front of National Harbor.

"I love doing this. I meet different people every day, but the hotel is not being nice to us," Dembel said.

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