Taxi Drivers: We Want a Fare Increase

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


The drivers group Taxi Workers Alliance is petitioning the city for a 15 percent fare increase seven years after the last across-the-board fare hike.

Taxi Worker's Alliance head Bhairavi Desai said drivers take home just under $100 after a typical 12 hour shift. Cab drivers are making about 33 percent less today than 6 months ago due to the rising price of fuel, she said.

"Prices have skyrocketed, but our meters have stayed fixed and so we need a raise because without it drivers fall even deeper into poverty," Desai said.

The increase drivers are seeking would increase the mileage rate from $2 to $2.50 and the waiting time by 10 cents. Advocate are also lobbying for added surcharges during the morning and evening commutes.

"At least it would cover the gas," said Beresford Simmons, a driver of 38 years, "where you know you could put in an extra hour to make a profit for yourself but the gas is basically taking that away."

Passenger Leslie Enston of Brooklyn said taxi drivers here work harder but are paid less: "These cabs in New York are actually really cheap so I'd be willing to pay a little extra if they get a better standard of living."

But other cab customers are less enthusiastic.

Dan Gross of Manhattan thinks any fare hike should wait until more cabbies stop refusing to take passengers where they request: "It happened to me the other day. I get into a cab, tell him where I'm going and he said he couldn't take me there. ... I want to help them but they have to help me. I think it starts there."

The Taxi and Limousine Commission said they’ll review the driver’s petition carefully and thoroughly. The agency did not give a time frame for how long that might take.


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Comments [1]

buster from NY

I feel that by any measure the cab drivers in this town are truly picked on simply because they are an easy target. Poor, and an overwhelmingly immigrant group.They contend with both the public's perception they are all out to fleece them and the TLC's sometime heavyhanded tactics- which I have seen first hand and found inappropriate and at the time somewhat embarrasing to witness. They work hard and just don't make a livable wage- and that's as it was.
And it's obvious- fuel prices take a significant uptick- their incomes are affected proportionately. They take the hit. There should be a simple mechanism in place to adjust cab fares based on fuel increases (or the unlikely decrease). To use peripheral issues as an excuse to delay an increase, or worse to just deny it since they don't have political/business interests behind them, is being very unfair.

May. 05 2011 08:17 AM

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