Taxi fares could go up 20% by July
Hailing a cab could get pricier -- and soon.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission will discuss raising fares up to 20% -- the first increase since 2006, its chairman, David Yassky, said Monday. He described the increase as "reasonable."
Cabbies have been lobbying the agency to hike what they collect from riders for more than a year. A hearing on Thursday will be the first time the TLC officially considers two proposals introduced last year to tweak rates, which would mean forking over an extra 16-20% per ride.
“The fare hasn’t changed since 2006, so it is reasonable for taxi drivers and fleet owners to put this on the table,” Yassky said in a statement yesterday. In 2004, there was a 26% across-the-board fare increase. In 2006, the cost per minute for a taxi idling in traffic rose to 40 cents.
An administration source who was not authorized to speak publicly said taxi advocates “have made a highly compelling case” for a fare increase, adding that the hike could be implemented by July.
The average ride in January was 2.76 miles and lasted about 11 1/2 minutes, according to the TLC, for a fare of about $11.82.
“It’s about time,” said Bhairavi Desai of the Taxi Workers Alliance. “We get a raise once a decade.”
“Drivers are making less today than they were six years ago,” she added.
Under a proposal by the TWA, each click of a taxi meter would increase from 40 cents to 50 cents, add a $1 morning rush-hour surcharge and a late-night charge doubled to $1.
Jarenton Munoz, a cab driver since 1999, said increased gas prices and overhead costs have reduced his weekly take-home pay to about $800 — or about $40,000 before taxes.
“Every once in a while, somebody gets a raise,” said Munoz, 33, who lives in the Lower East Side. “We deserve it.”
“The riders understand it’s a long time without getting a raise,” he added. “They’ll probably take fewer cabs for two or three weeks, but they'll come back.”
Riders said they thought the increase was high.
“They're so expensive already,” said Greg Bach, a 52-year-old event designer from midtown.
Dave Fitz, who works at a video rental store in midtown, said he also tries to avoid cabs because of the expense.
“That is really a lot for a ride,” Fitz, 20, said of the proposed increase. “I really just prefer the train.”
(With Ivan Pereira)