Streams

Group Taxi Rides Get Green Light for U.S. Open

Monday, May 23, 2011

It may be hard to score a ticket to top U.S. Open tennis matches this year, but it should be easier to catch a cab.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a shared ride stand for passengers traveling from the Flushing, Queens, tennis center to Manhattan.

TLC Commissioner David Yassky Yassky said the group ride stand will also give more cabbies a financial incentive to drive out to the matches starting August 29. Flat fares will range from $35 to $60, depending on the number of passengers. That could put $20 to $25 more in drivers' pockets than the metered fare.

"Every year it's just chaos outside the U.S. Open between the yellow taxis and the car service cars and the black cars," Yassky said. "The folks who run the U.S Open have been trying for a few years now to bring some order to this."

The city mined GPS data in cabs and found the majority of passengers were traveling from the U.S. Open to midtown Manhattan. The new shared ride structure will be in effect for all trips to Manhattan.

According to United States Tennis Association figures, last year was the fourth year in a row that more than 700, 000 visitors came out to the U.S. Open.

"Some of the more savvy cab drivers you know did pretty well last year. ... Once you have a supply and demand situation like that in New York, it's hard to keep it a secret," said Chris Widmaier of the United States Tennis Association.

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