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The owner of Cambridge's Yellow Cab Company will have to open his gas pumps to his cab drivers or lose his license, the Cambridge City Council decided Monday night.
The council voted unanimously to instruct the licensing board to adopt new requirements forcing cab company owners to provide cabbies with gas.
Arthur Goldberg, owner of Yellow Cab Company, triggered a protest by cabbies two weeks ago when he told them to buy fuel at private service stations because his gas allocation had been cut. Goldberg had always provided gas to his drivers free of charge.
To cover the increased cost to the drivers, Goldberg tacked 10 per cent on to their commissions.
Angry cabbies immediately charged that the 10-per-cent increase was not enough to pay for the gas. "Our livelihoods are at stake," Peter Lowber, a spokesman for the 75 cabbies, said.
Cab driver James Lyle presented the council with a chart showing that Goldberg had reduced his gasoline costs by 7 per cent, while the drivers suffered a 10-per-cent income loss because of the plan.
The licensing board last week ruled that the city cannot control Goldberg's gasoline allocation. "Now they'll have no choice but to regulate, and Goldberg, if he wants to keep his license, will have to conform," City Councilor David Sullivan said after Monday's vote.
Goldberg said last week he is no longer able to provide gasoline for his drivers because Gibbs Oil Co. has cut his allocation.
He added that making drivers pay for gas will discourage them from taking "their girlfriends to parties" with company gas.
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