Across the nation, the fashion police are turning their critical gaze to cabdrivers, according to Newsweek magazine, which lists these developments:
- The International Airport Ground Transportation Association voted unanimously last week to strongly recommend a taxi-driver dress code: closed-toe shoes, a collared shirt and trousers--not jeans.
- After seeing a Chicago cabbie who appeared to be "in his underwear," Alderman Edward Burk has proposed that drivers be required to wear white-collared shirts, slacks, and matching socks and shoes. Steve Wiedersberg, one of the drivers who'd be subjected to the code, called it "crazy" and "too hot in the summer." He added: "You might as well have us wear a tuxedo."
- Los Angeles is in the second year of its dress code, which requires cabbies to wear not only black dress pants and white dress shirts but also black ties. Tom Drischler, the city's taxicab administrator, told Newsweek that looking professional helps with repeat business. "We kind of set the bar higher," he said.
But some raise the question of whether cabbies can afford nicer clothes. Biju Mathew, author of "Taxi!: Cabs and Capitalism in New York City," told Newsweek that cabbies in that city net only $7 an hour after expenses and gas. "The primary concern," he said, "should be what is the most comfortable for a worker who's going to be sitting 10, 12 hours behind a wheel."