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Distorted economics shape Miami-Dade County's taxicab industry

@PatriciaMazzei

Ah, the joys of taking a taxicab ride in Miami-Dade County. Gruff greetings. Stinky smells. Clunky cars.

Don’t blame us, the hacks behind the wheel say. Blame the economics of being a cab driver.

A few cabbies are their own bosses, pocketing all the cash they make. But most are mere chauffeurs, paying richer people for the privilege to chase down fares — without any incentive to cater to passengers.

This is the distorted reality of Miami-Dade’s highly regulated cab industry, where local laws have protected taxi-medallion holders for so long that any attempt to tinker with the rules is met with stiff political resistance.

County commissioners are scheduled to weigh significant changes Wednesday, including upgrading vehicles and the technology inside them. But they won’t go as far critics had sought. And life for drivers — and, by extension, for passengers — might not get much better.

Consider Avelino Paula.

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