A D.C. taxi driver of 28 years who goes by Mr. Paul reports that the government shutdown has cut his daily pay by about 75 percent. “It’s hard to believe that some days I come home with $26,” he says. “Before the shutdown, I would be striving to make $80 to $100 every day I work.”
His rent of $1500 off Fort Lincoln Drive NE is due on the 5th of each month. He shares a two bedroom unit. He says that if he’s late on his rent, a late payment fee is applied. “The only way I paid my rent this month is because I’m borrowing. I’m very lucky that I could call my son this month and borrow.”
As he drove a City Paper reporter down 16th Street NW on Tuesday, he explained his days. “This morning, I came out at 4 a.m., and you are my second customer.” It was 8:15 a.m. “All of us are suffering, not only myself. I go down 14th Street, and no one has a passenger.”
He says that Union Station is no better. “Because there are no tourists coming in, cab drivers wait one hour, two hours, before they pick up somebody.” On Sunday night at Union Station at 8 p.m., several cabs that had been waiting to circle through the station’s taxi lane drove away without passengers. No one waited in line for a cab.
Mr. Paul says that one of the worst aspects of the shutdown is that it creates an atmosphere of uncertainty. But he doesn’t believe that this will end any time soon. “It might stay for a long time because it’s a matter of ego,” he says. “The shutdown is biting.”