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Cabbies say opposition to "Taxis on Patrol" program cost them their jobs

Four cab drivers say Yellow Cab terminated their contracts because they spoke out against the Taxis On Patrol program which was announced Monday by Yellow Cab and Little Rock city leaders.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - There were dozens of cabs in front of the Little Rock Airport Tuesday, and Owen McMullen wasn't driving any of them.

"I'm not a patrolman and I'm not a deputy sheriff and I don't want to be," he said.

McMullen is one of four cab drivers who say Yellow Cab terminated their contracts because they spoke out against the Taxis On Patrol program, or TOP, which was announced Monday by Yellow Cab and Little Rock city leaders.

"Maybe the bad guy sees a cab going down the road in the past and didn't think anything about it," Yellow Cab President Ellis Houston said Monday. "Now he sees the cab, that guy may be getting my picture, taking my description, he may be calling the police right now as he's walking down the road with a tv."

Problem is, some cab drivers think the TOP program compromises their safety because, in their words, signs on the side of their cabs reading "helping the police protect your streets" label them as police informants or snitches.

"I'm not gonna be the one to get out there and be shot at," explained driver Valinda Liggins, "because somebody thinks that i'm filming a drug buy."

We contacted Yellow Cab management and they told us the notion that they let anyone go because of their objection to TOP is not true. However, they refused to elaborate or answer any further questions.

Either way, cabbies like McMullen no longer have their jobs -- be it as cab drivers or cab drivers on patrol.

"We have to charge Jack the Ripper the same as we would the Pope with no more assurances of what's going to happen to us," said McMullen.

Some of the former cab drivers say they're considering taking legal action against Yellow Cab and are currently exploring their options.
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