Taxi Drivers Demand Apology From Mayor Gray’s Office Over “Third-World” Remark

Comments made by Gray’s spokesman to Washingtonian spark anger from cabbies and Teamsters.

The Teamsters union, which now represents about 1,000 cabbies, is demanding an apology from Mayor Vince Gray for comments his spokesman made Wednesday to Washingtonian after they filed a lawsuit against the city seeking to stop enforcement of regulations requiring credit card readers and new rooftop lamps.

For the past few years the drivers have been their own worst enemy,” Gray spokesman Pedro Ribeiro said. “We barely have a third-world taxicab system in this city.”

In a press release, the Teamsters say Ribeiro “insulted every driver in the city with his remark.” “The statement is offensive and it demeans the more than 6,000 taxicab drivers in the District, many of whom are from developing countries in Africa and the Middle East,” the statement reads.

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Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.