LETTER TO THE EDITOR: What makes a city great?

My anecdote: a hometown gal, an architect now living in New York City, I was surprised, embarrassed, and ultimately appalled that I couldn’t find a taxi to take me from the airport to my ailing mother’s home in southwest Fort Wayne. Four other passengers were also stranded; we were repeatedly told to ‘use Uber’ and ultimately discovered that the taxis were absent because the airport authority has levied a fee to use the taxi rank.

A well-regulated, clean, accessible, smoke-free and widely available public transit system is an essential infrastructure in any major city.

London and New York, for example, cannot function without their famous taxi cabs. Uber is not a solution for everyone.

Uber’s unregulated hiring practices, dodgy track record, and lack of vehicular inspections bar some smart consumers from their membership ranks. This ‘gig economy’ is cheating hard-working men and women cabbies out of their livelihoods and, despite the perceived convenience, should be seriously studied by those who believe a city should be organized by specific standards of civility.

In the end, I coaxed a random stranger to take the two lovely Australian ladies to their off-brand hotel. I myself relied on the kindness of a stranger, whose sister dropped me off on her way.

I enjoin the citizenry of Fort Wayne to demand the abolishment of the $2 taxi chute fee. In its place, the airport should pay the taxi companies an incentive to attend passengers in the taxi rank. How about $2 per passenger?

— Julie Hanselmann Davies, New York City

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