US airport drops pilot program for cabbies who won't accept passengers carrying alcohol

Airport officials dropped a proposal to accommodate Muslim cabbies who refused to transport passengers with alcohol because of religious concerns.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport officials had worked with the Muslim American Society and taxi companies on a pilot program directing Muslim cabbies to place a light atop their cabs to designate they will not take riders carrying alcohol. Airport employees could then refer such travelers to other cabs.

But airport authorities said the public response was overwhelmingly negative, and some taxi companies feared that people would switch to other forms of ground transportation, reports AP.

Jeff Hamiel, executive director of the city's airports commission, said he hopes representatives from the taxi industry will keep working toward a solution.

"The bottom line is that no one should be denied taxi service simply because they have alcohol in their possession," he said Tuesday.

For now, taxi drivers who refuse passengers with alcohol will continue to forfeit their place in the taxi queue and return to the back of the line, which often means a three-hour wait for another fare.

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