MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – After a long trip home, the last thing most people want is a long line.

Traveling sales rep Rachel Anhorn says at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, getting a taxi is not a problem.

“This is one of the best airports for that,” Anhorn said. “It’s fantastic. Chicago and New York, it’s terrible. But here, I’ve never once waited for a cab.”

But her blessing is a curse for taxi driver Awale Tahio, who has to wait in an enormous line of cabs.

“Maybe four, five hours wait time,” Tahio said.

The native of Ethiopia and father says he’s lucky to get three pick-ups in a 16-hour shift.

“I used to make money, but not now,” he said.

It’s hurt Kenneth Kormendy’s business, too. He runs Gopher State Taxi out of his Bloomington home.

“It just sucks out there. You know, the guys that just want to make a living, just working the line out there and getting a few personals here and there, it just takes them absolutely forever,” Kormendy said.

Because of an overflow of drivers, MSP spokesperson Pat Hogan says the airport decided a few years back not to cap the number of drivers who work from there.

“We do have a lot of taxis here, more than we really need to serve the customers. But for some reason, they keep coming back. You know, they complain that they’re not getting enough business, but nobody drops out year after year, so the numbers stay high,” Hogan said. “And there’s really nothing we can do about that other than tell them all to go home. And nobody wants to be the cab driver who’s told ‘You can’t get a permit this year.'”

Hogan says a few years back, they tried limiting the number of licenses they hand out. But he says people just started selling off their licenses for a marked-up price, so they’ve decided that anyone who qualifies for a license will get one.

“Right now, there are 773 people who’ve decided they want to do it, and that number stays high year after year,” he said. “So even while we’re hearing that they’re not making enough money, nobody’s dropping out.”

Tahio says he’ll stick with it.

“I have a child, you know, so I have to do it,” he said.

Minneapolis allows an unlimited amount of cab drivers, so that’s why getting a cab downtown can be easy for customers.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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