Kevin Killeen (@KMOXKilleen)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A dozen taxi cab drivers demonstrated outside the civil courts building, where their attorney has filed a lawsuit accusing the Metropolitan Taxi Cab Commission of operating a “monopoly” that hinders cab drivers from starting their own business.

Attorney Drew Baebler’s suit alleges the cab commission is guilty of “restraint of trade” for forcing cab drivers to pay existing companies hundreds of dollars a month to drive for themrather than issue licenses to cabbies seeking to become independent.

“The way this commission is formed, they put these owners of the taxi cab companies on there, and then have them vote to restrict licenses in the future for competition,” Baebler says.

Baebler says it’s a “conflict of interest” for Yellow Cab, County Cab and Laclede Cab to have seats on the commission. The drivers, he says, are forced to buy and maintain their own cab and pay monthly fees that prevent them from earning what they could on their own.

“They have to buy their own cabs, paint their own cabs,” Baebler said, “If their cab gets wrecked, they have to fix their own cab. They have to pay a company $600 a month in order to have the permission of that company to drive for them.”

A spokesman for the cab commission, Richard Callow, says the commission has not yet had time to review the suit to offer a comment.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)



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