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New York Cabbies Strike Over Civility Rules

Yellow cabs were hard to find at airports, outside hotels in Manhattan yesterday as taxi drivers staged a walkout.

Angry over proposed drug tests and civility rules, the 800-member Taxi Workers Alliance announced a 24-hour work boycott, hoping to entice most of the city's more than 12,000 yellow cab drivers to follow suit.

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The strike appeared to be working yesterday morning.

Last month, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission's proposed a reform package that includes drug tests for taxi drivers, a ban on smoking and blaring music, and fines of up to $150 for ignoring or cursing customers. Other fines would triple or quadruple. The commission is scheduled to vote on the new rules May 28.

Taxi drivers want a hand in rule-making and a dose of respect, says Biju Mathew, a strike organizer.