Sep
03

For some, Tuesday brings a cab fare hike

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Along with higher fares, New York City taxis will soon sport new exterior markings as well.

When the Taxi & Limousine Commission approved a cab fare hike in July, the board dropped a start date for the hike in an industry notice that otherwise drew little attention. Despite a dearth of press releases or public awareness campaigns trumpeting the increases, the fare hike can go into effect tonight if cab drivers are prepared for it.

As Matt Flegenheimer explains in The Times, the TLC finally decided to announce publicly that cabs that have been repapered and recalibrated can start charging the higher rates as soon as 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, September 4. Considering how drivers stand to benefit from the 17 percent hike — the first increase in the fare in years — I’d imagine many cabs will be sporting the proper markings as soon as possible. Flegenheimer has more:

The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission announced late Monday that operators of yellow taxis would be allowed to put the new fares — which increase rates by about 17 percent — into effect as of 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, once they have recalibrated their meters and updated external markings.

Operators will not be required to institute the fares until their first scheduled inspections after Sept. 30, meaning that the city’s taxi fleet will most likely include a mixture of old and new rates for the next several weeks.

“We anticipate that many taxicab operators will implement the new fare structure as of Sept. 4, so it is extremely important that taxi riders know and understand it,” David S. Yassky, the chairman of the taxi commission, said in a statement. “The taxi industry appears to be experiencing a smooth transition to the new structure, and we want passengers to experience a smooth transition as well.”

Drivers are thrilled with the increase, and they deserve it. The cost of living has gone up; the cost of gas has gone up; and, as we know, the cost of a subway ride has gone up numerous times. But cabbies haven’t seen their takehome pay go up since 2004. With a slightly lesser increase in rental fees, the drivers themselves stand to benefit.

And what of the riders? The $2.50 pick-up fee will remain the same, but a meter tick will jump from 40 cents to 50. A trip from JFK to Manhattan will cost $52 while the Newark Airport surcharge will rise to $17.50. For the benefit of taxi riders, the credit card surcharge on drivers will shift to a flat fee of $9 from its current five percent levy. The TLC believes this move will lead cabbies to be more accepting of plastic.

For now, though, we may see a few weeks of chaos and irate passengers. While subway hikes come down the pike with fanfare, public hearings and numerous signs in stations, the cab fare hike is arriving literally in the middle of the night. The only sign of the hikes comes on the industry page of the TLC website, and until September 30, it’ll be possible to pay two different fares for the same trip depending upon which cab one hails. Riders not clued into the hikes may not be too thrilled with playing New York City taxi version of Russian Roulette.

No matter how you slice or dice it though, cab fares are going up, and as cabs remain an integral part of the transportation scene in New York City, that’s hardly great news. I’m happy for the drivers who have a rough job and take home little pay, but with a subway fare hike on tap for March, getting around is just getting more expensive.



Categories : Taxis

14 Responses to “For some, Tuesday brings a cab fare hike”

  1. BBnet3000 says:

    Whats the deal with the “T”? Makes me think of Boston every time.

    • Kai B says:

      Yes. Not a fan of the design either. “Taxi” is pretty universal. The letter ‘T’ for a taxi isn’t even yet understood by New Yorkers.

  2. Jim Kingdon says:

    That’s $9 per day, not $9 per credit card charge, according to http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2.....-hike.html (well, actually it is $10 according to that article).

  3. Alon Levy says:

    5%? Someone’s gouging the taxi drivers, and the drivers have every right to fight back. The surcharge on Octopus transactions is 1%, if I remember correctly.

    • Anon256 says:

      Octopus doesn’t kick back up to 2% to customers in cashback/points, nor does it give them 30+ days to pay. Obviously accepting credit cards is going to be more expensive, though 5% still seems very high (for example, Square charges 2.75%, and works through cheap hardware that could easily be used in a taxi).

  4. Skip Skipson says:

    $52 JFK to the city. Ouch. Perhaps we’ll see an increase in AirTrain/JFK rider ship. I started using Air Train because the cab costs were high.

  5. Josh K says:

    The problem with the ‘T’ logo is they’re really going to run into trouble once the second ave subway comes along, right? Then you’ll have the black T which means Taxi and the teal and white one which means the subway line. Yet another way to screw tourists in this fine city :)

  6. AG says:

    By some measures – NYC taxi cabs are kept artificially low in comparison to other major cities.

  7. JJ says:

    Maybe we’ll get surlier drivers as well

  8. Henry says:

    I remember that during one of the various taxi strikes, there was a contingency plan adopted where the city was divided into fare zones and people paid per zone. The taxi drivers who were still operating reportedly made more money using the contingency system, and the fare zones could very well encourage at least some drivers to wander into the denser parts of the outer boroughs.

    Would it be possible to implement a similar system now?

  9. Spencer K says:

    The problem with the external markings is that it doesn’t mention the fare, and there’s no regulation to list the fare *inside* the cab either. That’s pretty terrible.

  10. Akash says:

    Nice cab and it is the identity of India.I am waiting for when this kind of taxi start in Mumbai India.

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