Minneapolis-St. Paul is concerned that its taxi service is deteriorating. Citing their religious beliefs, some Muslim taxi drivers from Somalia are refusing
to transport customers carrying or suspected of carrying alcohol. It started with one driver a few years ago, but the average number of fare refusals has
grown to about three a day, says airport spokesman Patrick Hogan. “Travelers often feel surprised and insulted,” he says. “Sometimes, several drivers in
a row refuse carriage.”
Taxi drivers and officials from the airport, taxi companies and the Muslim American Society are discussing how to address the issue. Partly out of concern
that taxi drivers might be citing religion to avoid short-distance fares, the airport is now forcing drivers who refuse a fare to go to the end of the
line for waiting taxis. It is not a popular decision among drivers, Hogan says.
The airport is expected to propose today that drivers who wish to avoid alcohol-toting passengers change the light on their car roofs, possibly to a different
color. Hogan says the move will help let airport employees and customers know which taxis serve alcohol-carrying passengers. Drivers refusing a fare won’t
have to go to the end of the line. “Airport authorities are not in the business of interpreting sacred texts or dictating anyone’s religious choices. …
Our goal is simply to ensure travelers at (the airport) are well served.”
I’m starting to wish I lived in Miniapolis.
That way, I could take a trip to the airport, carry a bottle of Manischewetz’s finest concealed on my person, and, as I departed the cab, pour out a libation while reciting “Shema Yisrael” in an audible voice.
One for me, one for my homies.
The airport shouldn’t be cowing to these people.
You deny the fair, you lose your license.
None of this going to the back of the line, or changing the light on your roof so you can have the kind of customers you want.
If you want to live in the west, then you need to get your turbaned head around the fact that some of us are very proud drinkers, and we’re not about to give it up or hide it just because you’re offended.
One last thing.
I’m encouraging all blind people who have guide dogs to tell the dog it’s park time the second a cab driver tries to deny you the ride simply because you have a dog and that would offend his Muslim sensibilities.