City of Jackson faces lawsuit from taxi drivers

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Taxi drivers across the country face intense competition from upstart company Uber.

The app anyone can install on their phone and the service anyone with a car can provide is cutting into their business.

Two local drivers have filed a lawsuit against the city of Jackson because they say it’s the city that’s actually killing their bottom line.

Shad Denson and John Davis, with the help of the Mississippi Justice Institute, filed a lawsuit against the city Wednesday morning.

They claim the taxi regulations are irrational and have made it nearly impossible to start their own businesses.

“I had to close the business down, I just wasn’t making the money.”

John Davis worked for Veterans Cab for 21 years.

He claims he was forced out, and couldn’t afford to keep driving a cab.

“Working so hard at it for so long and to get shut down like that and to get Uber brought in on top, it’s just unfair,” Davis said.

Uber has less restrictions in Jackson and according to Davis, charged a much cheaper cab fare

It’s one of the reasons he became part of a lawsuit against the city.

“They must possess a Jackson business license, they must have a physical office in Jackson. They must staff that office 24 hours a day, they must have half or all of their vehicles domiciled in Jackson, and probably the most harmful before they can ever create a taxi cab business, they have to have eight vehicles,” Mike Hurst, an attorney with Mississippi Center for Public Policy, said.

Shad Denson tried applying for his own taxi business in 2013.

“The process drug out for almost six months and cost me about $12,000,” Denson said.

He currently drives for Jackson Taxi.

“I pay a company to use their name on the side of my car to have access to the city of Jackson,” Denson said.

Denson is hoping this litigation could help him one day become a small business owner.

“I just want to be able to build something and leave it for my family when I’m done,” Denson said.

As for Davis, while it wasn’t easy, he’s now an Uber driver, working for a company he says is hurting the taxi business.

“It does not feel good. But, I have to pay bills, you’ve got to humble yourself, you’ve got to keep going,” Davis said.

At last check, the city of Jackson hasn’t been officially served with court papers.

According to the mayor’s communications director, they do not comment on pending litigation.

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