TAMPA (FOX 13) - For a cab driver to pull off the road, it has to be important.
More than 20 cabbies protested their employer, United, saying the weekly cost of picking up fares in a company car recently jumped from $300 to $450.
"All the drivers here they have families," said driver Abdel Aftah. "They have rent, they have mortgages, they have car payments, they have wives waiting at home with their kids!"
Several drivers said they were on the road seven days a week just to make ends meet.
United would not immediately respond, but another company, Yellow Cab, says Uber and Lyft have sapped calls by about a third.
"It has been tough for us to compete," said Yellow Cab transit manager David Bean.
Cab companies partly blame the county's Public Transportation Commission, which they say gave a sweetheart deal in November - allowing Uber and Lyft less-stringent background checks and insurance regulations than cab companies.
"It would be like me going down and opening up a liquor store next to ABC without a liquor license," said Bean.
Yet he says cabs will survive, because enough still want a more traditional ride.
But the protesting United drivers say the industry won't survive, unless it pays.
"We can not afford it, we cannot make it," said one driver. "After paying gas and lease, we can not even make $100 for ourselves."
FOX 13 spoke with someone at United who told us they were not ready to respond to the claims made by protesters.
The Public Transportation Commission did not immediately respond to our requests for comment.