The New Orleans taxi cab drama has turned into the Bountygate of local government.
Just get it over with already, is the general consensus, as one City Council meeting after another gets tied up with this unwieldy issue.
And like Bountygate, a handful of guys are getting screwed.
They are local independent drivers who have quit the streets because they can't afford the cost of new city requirements.
Among the many fees to comply, drivers are required to purchase credit card processors.
This seems intuitive enough, and is very practical, but it's also profound interference to an individual's right to run a business how they see fit.
Risking losing a fare to another cab because of credit cards is a driver's personal business decision.
It's his loss.
And it's his choice, particularly if he objects to paying out a percentage of his income to the credit card company for their services.
The city does not require numerous other tourist tropes – Lucky Dog vendors, pedicabs, barrooms, barbershops, snowball stands or strippers – to accept credit cards.
Streetcars not only don't take credit cards – they're not even required to give you change back on a purchase.
You can't pay your toll on the Crescent City Connection with a credit card.
They say cabs are the first commerce a visitor encounters at the airport, but actually that would be the shoeshine guys – and they don't take credit cards.
Because that's their choice.
To single out taxi cabs for an arbitrary law seems to me a violation of their right to choose.
Lastly – and I'll make it quick: Drivers are now required to install video cameras in their cabs.
For the protection of the driver and the passengers, says the law, but again: Isn't their protection a matter of the drivers' own choice?
As for the passengers: Say I'm a visitor to New Orleans, ready to cut loose, shake free, and do the things I would never do back home.
Last thing I'm gonna want is a camera in my cab recording my every word, my every movement and, perhaps most importantly, my every companion.