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New Regulations Bring English-Only Requirement To Sacramento Taxicabs

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — New regulations passed by the Sacramento City Council will require taxi drivers in Sacramento to speak English.

Raheem doesn’t speak much English, but he says he’s good at his job driving a cab in Sacramento for years. He fears he may soon be out of a job.

The City Council passed new rules requiring drivers have proof of basic English skills, as well as making sure cars are eight years old or newer and that drivers wear professional clothing. The last requirement is a change from the proposed ordinance that required them to be hygienically clean.

Kazman Zaidi is the president of the Sacramento Taxicab Union, which denounced the new regulations.

“Maybe they can’t read English, but they can understand, and they can answer the question and where the customer need to go,” he said.

He estimates more than 100 of the 500 or so drivers in the area may not be able to pass the test, but says they are still good drivers.

“If they don’t pass this English test, they have to lose their job, you know?” he said. “And they will be out of business.”

Not all of the taxicab associations objected to the regulations.

Sacramento City Revenue Manager Brad Wasson says the new requirements are in a response to complaints from customers.

“The whole point is from the passenger’s perspective so that they can communicate with the driver, and get to where they need to go,” he said.

The test will be offered in audio format to those who may not be able to read.

“We want them to succeed, and we want to bring them along so they can serve public better, and pass the test and thrive,” Wasson said.

He says drivers not following regulations should be reported to 311.

Zaidi is left wondering if drivers like Raheem will be able to keep working .

“Why is the city causing trouble for our cab drivers?” he said. “This is really discrimination.”

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