Since 2002, there have been 4,800 cases of travelers refused taxi cab service at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Their crime? Coming back from a vacation or business trip with a bottle of alcohol. Now the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) is stepping in to raise the punishment for drivers who refuse to serve customers.
Under the new rules that take effect on May 11th, the MAC will suspend a cab driver's airport taxi license for 30 days the first time the driver refuses service and revokes the license for two years after the second violation.
The problem is that more than 70 percent of the cabbies serving the airport are Somalis and practicing Muslims. They say that Islamic law prohibits them from picking up people who are carrying alcohol.
The penalty under the old rules was for the taxi driver to have to go to the end of the taxi cab line up. The MAC says the tougher penalties are meant to insure that customers receive service and are not stranded at the airport.