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Kris
November 22nd, 2003, 10:16 PM
November 23, 2003

Finding the Intersection of Supply and Demand

By ERIC LIPTON

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It is 5:22 p.m., and here at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street the rush hour dance is well under way: commuters are weaving toward the subway, lines have formed at the bus stops, hands are in the air for any available cab and a gridlock of cars and buses is on the streets, belching exhaust and raising tempers.

It is a scene about as archetypal as the hot dog vendor in Central Park. But there is something else going on. This Midtown corner is a laboratory. And the experiment under way may reshape the taxicab industry, which has long exasperated and befuddled New Yorkers and tourists alike.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission is measuring air quality and traffic flow at this intersection and four others in Manhattan to decide how many more cabs should be set loose on city streets. Also under review by city regulators is how much the people who hail a cab each day in New York — more than half a million of them — should have to pay to indulge in this modest luxury. The implications are significant, cutting across the political fortunes of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the livelihood of 40,000 cabdrivers, and, of course, the frustration level of New Yorkers as they engage in the fight during busy hours to find an available cab.

"Downtown there are no cabs," Janet Block said as she waited one recent evening at the Pennsylvania Station taxi stand near the end of a line of nearly 80 people. "On the Upper East Side, there are no cabs. Midtown, there are no cabs. No matter where you are, there are no cabs."

If New York City issues 900 new cab medallions, as it is considering, it would be the biggest increase in new cabs since 1937, when the city imposed a taxi cap. And if fares go up, it could further increase the availability of cabs, by enticing more drivers to enter the business.

"Nine hundred more cars in the city of New York might not sound like a lot," said Jonathan Orcutt, associate director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, which studies transit in the metropolitan area. "But a cab in the city has a greater impact on traffic than any other vehicle, as its job is to stay in motion and their focus is in Manhattan, below 110th Street." The average cab in the city is driven about 64,000 miles a year.

The political equation for Mr. Bloomberg is a complicated one. His administration has prided itself on its campaigns to ease Midtown traffic, including a crackdown on double-parked trucks and a weekday prohibition against turns on certain crosstown streets. Allow too many new cabs, and some gains he has made could be lost. Mr. Bloomberg is already fighting an image that he is immune to the economic pressures on average New Yorkers, having supported increases in city sales, real estate and property taxes. But if the Taxi and Limousine Commission, whose chairman is appointed by the mayor, rejects or indefinitely delays action on the pending fare increase petitions, an alliance of cabdrivers has already made it clear that there will be a strike.

"If we do strike, it will be successful," said Bhairavi Desai, coordinator of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which startled city officials in May 1998 when it organized a one-day strike against new disciplinary rules, a demonstration that left city streets largely bereft of cabs.

Members of the Taxi and Limousine Commission say they want to make their decisions on medallion and fare increases soon, with a vote on higher fares perhaps as early as January. While the addition of most, if not all, of the 900 medallions is likely, Allan J. Fromberg, the deputy commissioner of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, said a fare increase was far from certain. "We need to study it very carefully," Mr. Fromberg said. "The onus is on the industry to document that it needs it."

Three of the nine board members said in interviews that they supported a raise and believed that one would be approved.

"There is going to be a fare increase. That is almost 99 percent sure," said Stanley E. Michaels, a former city councilman who was appointed to the taxi commission recently.

The impetus for the new medallion sale had more to do with a need to balance the city budget than a desire to ease the search for available cabs, city officials acknowledge. Since the city first imposed the cap on the number of cabs in 1937, the value of the painted metal shields mounted on the hoods of cabs has grown from $10 to about $225,000 today. That means that selling 900 new medallions could earn the city an estimated $190 million, a third of which the city is already counting on to help balance this year's budget. The city hopes to sell the first 300 medallions before the end of June.

Adding to yellow cab fleet has long been a tricky political issue. Mayors John V. Lindsay, Edward I. Koch and David N. Dinkins tried during their terms. Doing so now requires the approval of the State Legislature and the City Council.

Mayors also face opposition by taxi owners, who for decades prevented the city from holding an auction, keeping the limit fixed at 11,787, based on an argument that more medallions could dilute their investment and mean more competition for their drivers. During the Koch years, the powerful Bronx Democratic leader Stanley M. Friedman represented the industry and managed to block Mr. Koch's repeated efforts to increase the medallions sold.

Mr. Koch also faced another roadblock. A late-1980's study of traffic and pollution related to his plan to allow 1,800 more cabs found that the city could, at most, add only 400, raising the total to 12,187; any more would have violated clean air rules.

"It was incredibly startling," Mr. Koch said in a recent interview, still frustrated that he could not get a single additional cab onto the streets during his three terms. "People did have difficulty getting cabs. I never understood it."

It was not until the mid-1990's, during the tenure of Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, that the city first adjusted the medallion cap, adding the 400 cabs that the traffic study had cleared.

This year Mr. Bloomberg was able to win approval for the 900 new medallions in Albany and from the City Council partly because the industry, which has been pressing for a fare increase, decided not to oppose the sale. The only remaining hurdles are the Taxi and Limousine Commission and the environmental study, which should be complete within a month.

The study, conducted by Urbitran Associates, a New York City engineering firm, is examining how issuing 300, 600 or 900 additional medallions would affect carbon monoxide at five intersections: Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street; Broadway, Columbus Avenue and 65th Street; Third Avenue and 57th Street; Broadway and 34th Street; and Eighth Avenue and 42nd Street. All are notoriously congested spots where cabs are often hard to get, even though cabs make up about half the traffic.

State air monitoring data from an East 34th Street testing station shows that New York City's air has greatly improved since the mid-1980's and that carbon monoxide is consistently far below federal limits. The Bloomberg administration plan would require 9 percent of any new cabs to rely on compressed natural gas or to be hybrid electric-gas vehicles, reducing their emissions impact.

The crucial question the traffic study will answer is whether the new cabs would significantly increase carbon monoxide. A significant increase is defined as consuming half the available cushion between the federal limit and the current air quality.

At the same intersections, the consulting firm is counting overall movement of cars, how often they turn, how long they sit in traffic and how long it takes to move across nearby eight-block sections of the city.

What the study will not answer is the ever-urgent question of just how long, on a rainy day, or at rush hour, a traveler will have to wait for a cab at those high-demand locations. Cab availability, it turns out, has to do with a lot more than simply how many medallions the city allows.

The economy, for one, is a significant force. Most city residents may not realize it, but the recession has made it easier to get a cab in New York now than in 1999.

Cab use goes down in New York City almost in direct correlation to declines in employment at restaurants and bars, declines the city has experienced recently, said Bruce Schaller, a former Taxi and Limousine Commission policy director who runs a cab research and consulting firm. Meanwhile, city data shows that drivers, struggling to make a living, have been putting in more hours. A combined result is that city cabs cruised for 303 million miles in 2002 in search of fares, up from 288 million in 1999, suggesting that it was about 5 percent easier to get a cab last year. This trend may already be reversing as the economy begins to revive.

A fare increase typically means that more people opt to take public transit or to walk, at least initially, making it easier for others to hail cabs. More cabs might also mean fewer sedans would be illegally picking up people trying to hail cabs. That variable also complicates any study of the environmental impact of the medallion increase.

During a recent rush hour at the Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street intersection, would-be taxi riders did not have their hands up for more than a few minutes before a sedan pulled up and offered a ride.

"I'd rather pay a little extra and get going," one man said as he gave up on getting a cab and stepped into a limousine for a $10 ride to Penn Station.

Raising the fare could also affect the availability of cabs — as well as the environmental impact — because more drivers could be drawn into the business, allowing fleet owners to put more cabs on the road for double shifts.

As it stands, a cab ride in New York City is a relative bargain. New York City's average fare of $6.85 (assuming a 2.8-mile trip and about five minutes spent sitting in traffic) is the lowest among the nation's 14 cities with sizable cab fleets, according to a survey by Mr. Schaller. A similar trip would cost $9.19 in Los Angeles and $7.77 in Chicago.

Full-time cabdrivers, on average, take in about $1,375 for working six 12-hour shifts a week, according to Mr. Schaller's analysis of city taxi meter data. After the typical costs for leasing the cab and gasoline are deducted, it works out to about $720 in take-home pay before taxes, according to Mr. Schaller. Ms. Desai, of the Taxi Workers Alliance, said she believed that the average take-home wage, before taxes, was more like $565 a week.

Each driver, of course, has his own story. Mohammed Ahmed, who lives with his wife and two young children in Woodside, Queens, said he took in about $1,200 in fares and tips during his six-day week. Subtract $565 in lease payments for his cab and $150 in gasoline, and that leaves about $500.

"Policemen, firefighters, teachers — their salaries have gone up," said Mr. Ahmed, 38, who said he had more than $10,000 in credit card debt. "It is hard to survive with what I make."

But giving Mr. Ahmed and other cabdrivers an increase is not an easy call for Mr. Bloomberg. In February 2002, he all but endorsed a taxi fare increase, saying during a news conference that "somehow or other, if you don't make it economically attractive for people to drive taxis, the public's not going to have taxis." He also said, "You probably will see some kind of a rate increase."

Since then, however, Mr. Bloomberg has been more circumspect.

"The T.L.C. will follow its charter-mandated process as it considers applications for a fare increase," said Jordan Barowitz, a spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg. "A medallion sale will make it easier for New Yorkers to find a cab and encourage people not to drive their own cars. 2.2 million vehicles travel New York's streets each day; the addition of 900 cabs isn't even a drop in the bucket."

Mr. Koch said that Mr. Bloomberg should put aside any concerns about his political fate and back the fare increase.

"What did you pay seven years ago for a bottle of milk and a pound of steak?" he said, referring to the last time there was a fare increase. "The mayor should do the right thing and people will support it. And the right thing is to issue the additional medallions and allow a fare increase to go through."

The most intense part of the debate might end up being which version of the fare increase should be approved, as the fleet owners and the alliance of drivers have strikingly different requests pending before the city. The Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, which represents fleet owners, wants a 23 percent fare increase, which would produce an average fare of $8.45 and increase the flat rate for a ride from John F. Kennedy International Airport into Manhattan to $49 from $35.

The taxi workers alliance, meanwhile, is pushing for a nearly 50 percent increase, raising the average fare for a 2.8-mile trip to $10.14, not including tip.

The dispute extends beyond the basic fare. Fleet owners want to increase the cap on how much they can charge drivers to lease cabs, while the drivers want a reduction in that cap.

In Midtown, where the battle for cabs is waged every evening, the prospects of a fare increase were greeted with something of a collective shrug. New Yorkers have already seen increases in the subway and bus fare this year, and taxi fare increases often follow close behind.

"I am willing to pay more for the convenience of knowing that there will be a cab when I need one," Amy Innerfield, who lives on the Upper East Side, said while waiting at a Midtown curb for a cab last week. "At least I can get where I want to go."

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Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Kris
December 4th, 2003, 09:02 AM
December 4, 2003

METRO MATTERS

Just a Few Miles, and Hours, From Home

By JOYCE PURNICK

THERE'S a saying in this business that news is what happens to an editor. Well, why not? News is also what happens to a writer, especially if the same thing is happening to thousands of others in this allegedly world-class city.

Do readers detect a note of sarcasm? Try thinking of New York as a world-class city after landing at Kennedy International Airport at the end of a Thanksgiving vacation. Could make you wish you had never left home.

What happened was this:

Early Monday evening, the flight from Phoenix landed an hour late, making for another unpleasant flying experience. Traveling is generally unpleasant these days, given security measures that have turned into parody. There really is no better word to describe the self-important people barking orders or wielding their metal-detecting wands like weapons as they probe everything from socks to bra hooks. (Beware the attack bra.)

So yes, the plane was late, but it landed safely, and home was in sight.

If only.

There was another hurdle to come: The taxi line. There had to be 300 in that line, waiting for a trickle of taxis. In fact, for minutes at a time, there were no taxis to accommodate all those people, many shivering in lightweight clothes. And this happened to be an international terminal. Passengers from European flights were also standing in that line, and there were probably other such lines at other terminals.

Welcome to New York.

The estimated wait looked to be one and a half hours — for the privilege of paying $35, plus tip, to get home from an airport with no apparent mass transportation — except for infrequently sighted city buses to parts of Queens. Even the new AirTrain, the light-rail system connecting Kennedy Airport to the city's mass transit system, will go only to Jamaica and Howard Beach — not yet directly to Manhattan. And it won't begin service until Dec. 17.

Talk of feeling stranded. Some people gave in to come-ons from a few freelance car and limousine drivers who demanded exorbitant fees for precious rides. A few people called car services. Others even contemplated boarding a shuttle bus to Newark and doubling back to Manhattan.

At one point, someone spotted an unlabeled private bus idling near the curb. An inquiry determined that it was taking passengers to Grand Central Terminal for $15-a-person, plus tip. Better than Newark.

Outside Grand Central, a taxi was spotted and flagged. Home — nearly two hours after touchdown.

WHY the endurance test?

A Taxi and Limousine Commission spokesman blamed a post-holiday rush. The spokesman, Allan J. Fromberg, said he'd heard from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that on Monday night, 10,000 cabs had been dispatched from Kennedy Airport by 2 p.m. — more than the usual 6,000 dispatched in a 24-hour period. He thinks drivers stayed in Manhattan rather than head back to the airport.

A related theory, favored by cab drivers: the shift change. It was about 5 p.m. when the line was so long — the same time as the city's dreaded taxi shift change, when daytime drivers end their 12-hour shifts and night drivers begin theirs. The custom goes back about 20 years and gums up the taxi works every day.

Why nobody prepares for a vacation-related crunch and the exacerbating change of shifts is hard to understand. Why is it tolerated? Silly question. The city also tolerates cramped cabs, poor service to some boroughs and neighborhoods, bad drivers (yes, there are good ones, too — no calls or letters, please), and surly drivers (ditto).

New York's taxi industry has been riddled with problems for as long as anyone can remember. Why would it change? Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's plan for expanding the number of taxi medallions by 900 would theoretically ease shortages, but there is no guarantee that 13,087 medallions in place of today's 12,187 would relieve the shift-change tangle.

Maybe a combination of more medallions and a fare increase — now under consideration by the commission — would get more taxis on the streets. But maybe not. Most in the business want an increase, but some drivers who lease their cabs are not sure, anticipating a subsequent increase in the lease price. "I will pay more, and passengers paying higher fares will give me smaller tips," explained one driver. "I'm better off without an increase. I make my money on tips."

Why is it we think we know where — and when — he and a few hundred of his fellow cabbies could make a killing?


Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Kris
December 31st, 2003, 09:41 PM
January 1, 2004

Study Supports 900 Extra New York Cabs

By N. R. KLEINFIELD

A formal study ordered by the city has essentially cleared the way for the largest taxicab-fleet expansion in nearly 70 years. It concluded that adding 900 cabs over the next three years would not pose environmental concerns and indicated that a moderate fare increase would probably assuage taxi owners.

The proposed expansion, which is still subject to public hearings and action by the Taxi and Limousine Commission, would mean tens of millions of dollars for the city. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has already included revenue from the first round of medallion sales in this year's budget, and the Taxi and Limousine Commission, whose chairman is appointed by the mayor, has made it clear it favors more cabs.

The impact study, required by law and conducted at the city's request by Urbitran Associates, a New York City engineering firm, said that even intensified traffic jams posed by the influx of new cabs added to the 12,187 licensed taxis already on the streets could be mitigated by some modest adjustment in traffic-light sequences. The fare increase it seemed to suggest — in the 25 percent range — would be likely to placate cab owners who feared their market would become glutted. Taxi fares have not risen in more than seven years and are among the lowest among the nation's large cities.

The intention is for 300 cabs to be added in each of the next three years, with the first group expected to be cruising city streets by June. The value of a medallion is currently around $225,000. Selling 900 new ones could generate about $190 million for the city.

Allan J. Fromberg, the deputy commissioner of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, said yesterday that the commission had no comment on the impact study, because public hearings still had to be held.

Noach Dear, one of the commissioners, said the study's conclusions were what he expected, and he anticipated that the city would now go forward with the medallion sale. Like some of the other commission members, he favors a fare increase as well, though he said he was not sure of the appropriate size.

What happens with fares will go a long way toward determining how welcoming taxi drivers will be of this rush of fresh competition. Bhairavi Desai, the director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which represents many drivers, said her group remained opposed to additional cabs without a suitable fare increase.

The alliance has been pushing for a fare increase of nearly 50 percent, while the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, which represents fleet owners, wants a 23 percent fare increase. The current average fare is $6.85.

Both the increase in the number of cabs and the fare increase would directly affect only yellow cabs, which answer street hails and operate primarily below 96th Street in Manhattan and at the airports. Livery car services, limousines and gypsy cabs would not be directly affected.

In trying to gauge what might happen if as many as 900 more yellow cabs suddenly materialized on the city's streets, the impact study measured air quality and traffic flow at five heavily used intersections in Manhattan.

One vital question addressed by the experiment was carbon monoxide emissions. The study concluded that levels would be the same or at worst slightly higher with the additional cabs.

In assessing the effects of 900 more cabs on an already nearly immovable traffic flow, the study examined car activity at the five intersections.

The study concluded that congestion at the studied intersections would be significantly worse with the new cab influx. However, it said that this could be pretty much addressed by altering the traffic-light sequences so that just one second of green time was changed at each of the locations.


Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

ZippyTheChimp
January 1st, 2004, 09:31 AM
More cabs? :(

To those that worry that NYC is losing its edge, this should help. At least once a week I say, "Where the @%#*&^ do you think you're going?"

Kris
January 2nd, 2004, 04:58 AM
January 2, 2004

Cabbies Fear Fare Increase Will Hurt More Than It Helps

By DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI

A proposal to expand New York City's fleet of yellow cabs and increase fares by 25 percent received a chilly welcome yesterday from one of the groups it was intended to assist — taxi drivers.

A study commissioned by the city and released on Wednesday recommended adding 900 yellow cabs to the current fleet of 12,187 — a move that would allow the city to raise tens of millions of dollars by selling new medallions. The study also suggested increasing fares by about 25 percent, to ease the fears of cab owners concerned that more competition could leave the market oversaturated and drive down the value of the medallions, currently around $225,000 each.

But the proposal — which has not yet been approved by the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission — has not eased the worries of cabdrivers, who fear that increased competition and fewer passengers will decrease their earnings.

"If the fares go up, business is going to go down," said Maninder Singh, who has driven a taxi for the past seven years. "And if there's 900 more cabs, business is going to go down. The way things are now, if you work, you can make money. But what will happen when there are fewer riders and more taxis?"

More than 500,000 people take yellow cabs each day in New York, and for years city residents have complained that a shortage of taxis has led to intolerable waits, especially during rush hours and inclement weather.

At taxi stands and on city streets, many cab riders reacted to the proposal yesterday with a predictable mix of emotions: they eagerly awaited the additional cabs but winced at the thought of paying 25 percent more. The base fare for a cab ride is $2, and each additional one-fifth of a mile costs 30 cents. Between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., a night surcharge of 50 cents is added.

Although the languid pace of New Year's Day made cabs relatively easy to find in Manhattan yesterday, many people said they thought that the expansion of the fleet was long overdue.

Gerald Tam, 24, of Chelsea, said he only traveled by cab at night and often had a difficult time finding one. If the city approves the fare increase, however, Mr. Tam said he would probably walk or take the subway more often.

"The best way to see the city is on foot anyway," he said, "so I guess I'll just walk more."

Others said they considered the fare increase inevitable and the plan a fair tradeoff.

Christopher Bartle, who lives on the Upper East Side and works in Midtown, said he was willing to pay higher fares if he could be certain that it would shorten his wait for a cab during rush hour.

"You just hope they add enough cabs to make a difference," he said. "People promise you things, but you're never quite sure whether they'll deliver."

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has indicated his support for increasing the size of the fleet, and both the City Council and the state have given their approval. The study was done by an engineering firm, Urbitran Associates, and determined that the 900 cabs could be added over the next three years without posing major traffic or environmental problems.

But cabdrivers, who have asked for a fare increase of 50 percent, said the study weighed the economic impact on medallion owners without considering how the proposal would affect drivers' wages. New York cab fares are lower than in many other large cities and have not been increased since March 1996.

"The city wants to raise money without raising taxes," said Bhairavi Desai, director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. "But the mayor shouldn't balance his budget on the backs of taxi drivers, who work 70 hours a week."


Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Ninjahedge
January 5th, 2004, 10:40 AM
Ugh.

No thank you.

I think they are still failing to address some things about cab drivers in the city.

First: The fact that half the drivers out there do not know the city outside of the "numbered" areas. This is really difficult for a true city-dweller who is used to finding things by foot or by subway. Most do not know how to get home on the roads themselves, and now they are expected to direct a cab driver?

Second: The AGGRESSIVE nature of cab drivers in the city. These guys have almost nothing in their lives. They are treates as less than human by anyone on the street when they are walking around. But when they are in their cars, they are now equals. You HAVE to let them by when they drive in front of you.

That, combined with the nature of the buisness in general, leads to cabbies that do not know the meaning of the dotted lines down the roadways. Blinkers are war-emblems and a horn is just a sign that the other car has not hit you yet.

Third: What is with all these V6 full size sedans? I can understand you need a bit more room in some vehicles (Like airport limos and stuff), but for city-transit, why are we giving rather high-powered, fuel inefficient road hogging machines to guys that do not really EVER need to get up past 50 MPH anywhere in the city? We need some hybrid cars here, and we need to stick these guys in vehicles that offer less offensive capability than what they have now.

Fourth: Drop off zones. Bot pick-ups and Drop-offs are heinous in the city. I realize that cabs are like the free-form bus, but come ON! We have to set up SOME rules for this!!!

Maybe we shoule only allow 2 corners (One on either side of a major avenue) as the designated pick-drop points for cabbies in the city. Forbid parking for the last 20 feet or so on these corners.

YES it would make it more difficult to just "grab a cab" and people might have to walk a whole half block in the rain. But you will not have cabbies cutting across 4 lanes of traffic while going down 5th in order to pick someone up. You will also not have people running ahead to get a cab ahead of someone else who is waiting at the corner....

So I don't know. Quite frankly, I would rather walk.

Kris
January 12th, 2004, 04:35 PM
http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/issueoftheweek/20040112/200/833

Kris
January 19th, 2004, 11:30 PM
January 20, 2004

NYC

Hey Cabby, the Fare Rise Is in the Mail

By CLYDE HABERMAN

AMONG the many great lies that keep the world spinning - "The check is in the mail," "This won't hurt a bit," "Sure, I'll respect you in the morning" - is the one about New Yorkers' being able to put up with anything.

That loving myth has comforted the people of this city for generations. But there is one thing that many of them absolutely cannot handle. It is called reality.

One reality is that the prices of certain essential services, like subway fares and college tuition charges, enjoyed the Zamboni treatment for many years; they were kept as artificially frozen as the hockey ice at Madison Square Garden. When they inevitably rose some months ago, cries of betrayal rang from Bay Ridge to Baychester.

Something similar is almost surely about to happen with taxi fares. In fact, it has already begun.

City officials leave no doubt that fares will soon go up, possibly by as much as 25 percent. Even though no action has yet been taken by the Taxi and Limousine Commission, the grumbling is in chorus.

Some of it comes from frequent taxi riders who, often enough, belong to the city's more privileged classes. They seem to have trouble grasping why a Bangladeshi immigrant behind the wheel of a yellow cab might possibly seek more than the $11 an hour that officials say the average driver earns.

A reality ignored by many New Yorkers is that fares have not risen in eight years, not since March 1996. "Friends" was still a fairly new television series, that's how long ago it was.

One result is that the cost of a typical cab ride is a Zambonied $6.85. (The average trip is said to be 2.8 miles, which also happens to be the approximate distance from home to office for your typical newspaper editor. A coincidence, no doubt.)

Bruce Schaller, a Brooklyn researcher whose specialty is the taxi industry, finds that New York has lower fares than at least 13 other major American cities. A 2.8-mile journey runs to $10.85 in San Francisco, or 58 percent more than in New York. When adjusted for inflation, Mr. Schaller said, the fare here is the lowest it has been since 1965.

In a separate study prepared for Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group for pedestrians and bicycle riders, Mr. Schaller concludes that a fare increase may improve taxi safety. Analyzing data from the 1990's, he discovered "a strong relationship" between cabbies' incomes and their accident rates.

"Drivers who are under greater financial pressure tend to work longer hours," making them more tired and more error-prone, he said. "Financial strains," he added, "may also pressure drivers to exceed the speed limit, run red lights and take other risks."

From conversations with city officials, it is not clear that they buy Mr. Schaller's safety arguments. All the same, they suggest that a fare increase is on the way, probably soon.

BUT in this politically charged city, how do you make passengers feel they are getting something for their money? That is the question vexing the Bloomberg administration, said a senior official who spoke only if given the standard (if irritating) guarantee of anonymity.

Some ideas under discussion are technophilic, like global positioning devices to help fleets track their cabs. Forgive us a certain skepticism. Technology has hardly been the cab rider's constant friend. You need only recall those pointless television screens behind the driver, not to mention the shrieking Elmo and his buddies urging riders to "buckle up."

More important for most New Yorkers, City Hall recognizes, is putting more cabs on the streets, especially during rush periods. At 4:30 p.m. on a workday, you stand a better a chance of stumbling upon a weapon of mass destruction in Iraq than finding an empty taxi in Midtown.

So besides planning to add 900 cabs, the senior official said, the city is thinking about scrapping the basically useless night surcharge of 50 cents and replacing it with a rush-hour surcharge of a dollar. The hope is that, with a lure of extra money, cabbies will keep cruising at 5 p.m. rather than doing their usual vanishing routine.

Now if only something can be done to improve passenger leg room, to install clear partitions so that you can actually read the driver's name and to get cabbies to pay mild attention to riders, instead of gabbing on their cellphones the entire time, true progress can be proclaimed.

Not that any of this is said as a complaint, mind you. Don't you know that New Yorkers can put up with anything?

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Kris
January 29th, 2004, 03:47 AM
January 29, 2004

Panel Backs 26% Fare Rise for City Taxis

By MICHAEL LUO

The Taxi and Limousine Commission yesterday proposed a 26 percent increase in fares, which, if passed, would be the first cab fare increase in eight years.

The proposal will now have to be voted upon by the commission's board, and it could go into effect as early in April if it is approved.

The proposal would raise the base fare to $2.50 from $2, and increase the charge for each fifth of a mile to 40 cents from 30 cents. Drivers had sought an increase as high as 50 percent, saying costs had risen sharply since the last increase, in 1996.

Public hearings on the proposal will be held in March, and the commission's nine-member board will then vote. The last time the commission proposed an increase, in 2001, the board voted it down. But this time, there appears to be consensus among the members of the board that some type of increase is necessary, especially in light of the city's plans to raise tens of millions of dollars by selling 900 new taxicab medallions, which could increase competition for fares.

"My sense is it will be responded to favorably," said Elliot G. Sander, a former city transportation commissioner who is a board member. "But I think the commission is looking forward to the public comment period."

In addition, the commission's proposal calls for:

¶Changing the waiting-time charge to 40 cents for every 120 seconds, from 30 cents for every 90 seconds.

¶Increasing the flat rate from Manhattan to John F. Kennedy Airport to $45 from $35.

¶Increasing the surcharge for a trip from Manhattan to Newark Liberty International Airport to $15 from $10.

¶Eliminating the 50-cent night surcharge from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. and replacing it with a $1 evening rush surcharge from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Under the proposal, the average fare of 2.6 miles, with five minutes of waiting time factored in, would rise to $8.45, and $9.45 in rush hours, from $6.85.

The commission also released plans for a series of service improvements to accompany the fare increase, including requiring all cabs to accept debit and credit cards, installing Global Positioning Systems in vehicles to help drivers navigate and allow passengers to track their routes, improving partitions in vehicles and setting up group ride stands around the city to allow riders to pay less to go to common destinations.

The proposal represents the culmination of a heated debate over the last year on how a fare increase might be organized. Taxi drivers have been complaining that an increase is long overdue. Many drivers say that it has become increasingly difficult for them to make a living.

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, an advocacy group for drivers, filed a proposal with the commission for a 50 percent increase, while the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, an industry group that represents fleet owners, suggested a 23 percent fare increase.

A report issued last month on a proposal to increase the number of cabs on the road for the first time in nearly 70 years suggested that a 25 percent increase would be needed to offset fears that the market could become glutted and drive medallion prices down.

Bhairavi Desai, the chief organizer for the taxi workers' alliance, called the proposal a "good start" yesterday.

"It's good to see an administration think about drivers' needs," she said in a telephone interview.

But she also criticized certain parts of the proposal, including the elimination of the night surcharge, which she said would result in fewer drivers' being willing to work overnight.

What was not officially released yesterday, however, were details on how much lease caps, the amount that fleet owners can charge drivers to lease their vehicles, will go up.

Industry officials had been urging a corresponding 23 percent increase in the lease caps, saying their operating expenses had gone up significantly over the last eight years as well.

The proposal that the commission has been circulating among industry groups includes only a 3.4 percent increase on the lease cap, or $50 per week.

"If this proposal is adopted by the T.L.C., taxi owners will receive a mere 3.4 percent increase in revenue, despite a 37 percent increase in their operating costs over the last eight years," Michael Woloz, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, said in a statement.

At the same time, he pointed out, they are being asked to implement service improvements that will cost about $1,500 per car.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Kris
February 24th, 2004, 07:52 AM
Taxi Fare Hike (http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/transportation/20040224/16/889)

Kris
March 30th, 2004, 11:07 PM
March 31, 2004

New York Cabs to Charge More, but You Can Put It on Plastic

By MICHAEL LUO

Saying that New York City taxi drivers are underpaid, the Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a fare increase yesterday of more than 26 percent, the first in eight years.

But to soften the blow, the commission also adopted improvements for passengers, including one that could make New York one of the first major cities where all cabs accept credit and debit cards.

The measures are a result of more than a year of intense discussions to balance the interests of millions of passengers who depend on the 12,187 yellow cabs with those of the fleet owners and the drivers, most of them immigrants, who toil long hours.

Starting in the first week of May, a typical cab ride of 2.6 miles in the city, from SoHo to Midtown for example, with five minutes of waiting time in traffic, will increase to $8.30 from $6.60. More specifically, the base fare will rise to $2.50 from $2, and the rate for every one-fifth of a mile, about four city blocks, will go to 40 cents from 30 cents. The flat fare from Kennedy Airport to Manhattan will increase to $45 from $35.

In a new expense, riders will have to pay a $1 surcharge from 4 to 8 p.m. on weekdays, when traffic is heaviest, a measure the commission hopes will encourage more drivers to work during the afternoon rush, when cabs are scarce.

The board had long been expected to approve the fare increase, but drivers in the audience, many of them speaking up about their rising expenses and low pay during the public comment period, cheered and applauded when the board unexpectedly voted to preserve the 50-cent night surcharge.

"We're excited and optimistic," said Bhairavi Desai, the chief organizer for the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, an advocacy group for drivers, explaining that most of the fare increase should go directly into drivers' pockets. This is because the board raised lease caps, the fee that taxi fleets can charge drivers to rent their vehicles, by only 8 percent. "This is historic," she added.

Even industry groups said yesterday that they viewed the increase as a good compromise. Taxi fleets are having trouble attracting drivers these days, said Ronald Sherman, president of the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, which represents fleet owners. They had been citing their own increasing expenses to push for a greater increase in the lease caps.

In weighing their decision yesterday, members of the commission's nine-person board repeatedly spoke of the need to give drivers a "livable wage." Matthew W. Daus, the taxi commission chairman, said drivers need at least $12 per hour after expenses. Currently, drivers make $9 to $17 an hour, depending on how much they pay to lease their cabs and whether they own their taxi medallions, according to the commission's information. With the increase, the range would grow to $13 to $20 an hour, Mr. Daus estimated.

The unanimous vote came after more than five hours of public testimony in the commission's cramped boardroom on Rector Street in Lower Manhattan, beginning at 9:30 a.m. About 50 people crowded into the main room, including drivers and industry representatives, while several dozen more filled an overflow room. Noticeably absent among the 39 public speakers, however, were members of the riding public.

But in an interview afterward, Mr. Daus said that New Yorkers will still be paying a reasonable rate.

"The riders already have the best deal in the entire country right now," he said, explaining that New York City taxi fares are currently lower than those of nearly all other major cities, including Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

As for what riders will get in return, the commission hopes to have the credit card equipment installed in all cabs by November 2005, an optimistic schedule that even Mr. Daus acknowledged yesterday was "aggressive."

Other technological improvements planned by that date include a device that will give a cab's exact location at any given moment, a monitor that will allow passengers to track the route, text-messaging equipment to send messages to all drivers, and improved scratch-resistant partitions. The board also passed a measure that would set up more group-ride taxi stands around the city, in which several riders can share cabs to common destination, paying a higher combined fare but at a lower individual cost.

But Bruce Schaller, a taxi industry consultant, warned commissioners yesterday that the credit card system could be hard to put into place. What New York is attempting has not been tried anywhere else in the country, he said. The closest parallel is Chicago, which adopted a rule in 2001 that required credit card equipment in all taxicabs by 2002, but technological obstacles delayed the start-up. Now, the equipment is supposed to be installed by June 2004.

But Chicago's program does not include debit cards, he said. An existing pilot program in New York City in which about 250 cabs have credit card equipment is plagued with problems, he added. Out of 38 test trips conducted in a recent study by Mr. Schaller, he said, only 13 percent of transactions went through successfully. A significant problem is the time credit card transactions take to process, an average of two minutes and 20 seconds; that may be too long for drivers hurrying to their next fare and waiting in traffic.

Another question is who will pay for the additional costs for credit card transactions. All the technological improvements are expected to cost about $1,500 per cab, and taxi fleets will have to bear those costs for their cabs, while owner-drivers will have to pay for them in their vehicles. But credit card transactions also generate a fee of $1.15 to $2 per transaction, Mr. Schaller said, a significant burden if drivers have to pay the fees, especially on smaller fares.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

fioco
March 31st, 2004, 12:11 AM
I've always enjoyed walking in this fantastic city, but now it's not only healthy, it's down right fiscally responsible.

Kris
March 31st, 2004, 08:08 PM
http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2004/03/30/nyregion/cabfare.gif

Kris
April 24th, 2004, 09:37 PM
April 25, 2004

THE VOICE

Falling in Place

As told to ERIKA KINETZ

http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2004/04/25/nyregion/cabb184.jpg

In the 30 years he has been driving a cab, William Lindauer has watched himself fall out of the middle class. Born in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx, Mr. Lindauer, 60, is a wiry, slightly impish man, with a loud voice, a smoker's cough, startling blue eyes and a taste for the theater. He can also do a good impression of a blueblood with lockjaw, even though he is missing most of his upper teeth.

A week from tomorrow, Mr. Lindauer and 40,000 other licensed yellow-cab drivers in the city will get their first raise in eight years. When the Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a 26 percent fare rise last month, it stressed the need to give drivers a "livable wage." Most of the increase will end up in drivers' pockets, because the commission also ruled that lease caps - the maximum amount that fleet owners can charge drivers - can be raised by only 8 percent. The other day, over a rare dinner out - red snapper and baked potato at the Malibu Diner in Chelsea, the neighborhood where he lives - Mr. Lindauer explained how he's been living on his current income, and what he hopes to do with his extra cash.

I GRADUATED from Northeastern University in 1965. I studied English. I used to do reporting and editing for trade magazines, and I was the editor in chief of a porn magazine called Man's World, but it went out of business. Then I wrote ad copy for a P.R. firm. I wasn't making any money. I asked for a raise, and they didn't give it to me. I decided to drive a cab and see how it is. Then you get in a rut. I started driving in the mid-70's. I don't remember which year. Maybe I want to forget it.

I drive 10 hours a day, six days a week. I'm on the road at least by 7:30. Some guys in my garage start at 5 in the morning and turn in at 5 in the afternoon. I don't like the populace out there at 5 in the morning. They're not going to work. They're up from the night before, and they're likely to do unseemly things in your taxi.

A Broadway show has a nut, a certain amount of money they have to make to meet expenses. My nut is $99 a day, Monday through Friday, for the lease and on Saturday and Sunday it's $85. This is going to change with the fare hike. They can make it $105 for the lease. Gas is a big expense, especially these days. I pay $1.99 a gallon. It's $17 to $22 a day, but when you have the air-conditioner on, it's going to eat up more gas.

My average take-home is $75 a day. If I get a ticket, there goes my day's work. I rely on tips for 15 to 20 percent of my income. Some people have this bizarre notion that you just round it off. If it's $4.70, they round it off to $5. The people on the Upper East Side are notoriously bad tippers, especially on Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue. Rich people think they're the only ones entitled to their money. They probably think cabs should be free.

I have no discretionary income. If I buy any clothes, it's something essential, like underwear. I'm not buying suits and ties. Giorgio Armani cannot depend on me for his livelihood. Money runs out. It's the little things. They nickel-and-dime you to death. If I want a slice of pizza at Ray's, it's $2. I'm not talking about dining at Jean Georges or Bouley.

I was married 18 years. My wife died in 1989. She got lymphoma. She did not work after the birth of our child. I was able to support our family. We even had an occasional vacation. We went to Switzerland and had a great time. We used to go out to dinner once a week with this couple. We even occasionally went to a Broadway show. It seems like ancient history. Thirty years ago on a good day I made $100. Now on a good day, I still make $100, and it buys a hell of a lot less.

My daughter graduated last May from the State University of New York at New Paltz. I paid a small amount of her education, but she did go out and get loans and scholarships. You know what textbooks cost these days? Five hundred dollars a semester!

I declared bankruptcy a few months ago. I couldn't afford the assessment and maintenance on my co-op, and I couldn't keep up with the mortgage payments. I could not meet the minimum payment on my credit cards after a while. I owe some money to a couple of friends. I didn't want to face the truth that I couldn't live in a fairly modest manner. I make $18,000 to $20,000 a year, and I'm about $75,000 in debt. When you have a lot of money, it's complicated, and when you have no money, it's complicated.

I live on 23rd Street between Eighth and Ninth. I've been here since 1972. I have to sell the co-op and hopefully find someplace, I don't know where. I'll probably go to Queens.

Moving is one of the most traumatic experiences in life, like losing a loved one or losing a job. When I moved into this neighborhood, there was one Chinese restaurant, with a big flashing sign that said "Lo Mein." That was it. The neighborhood was at its nadir. Now it has been gentrified. I made the perfect real estate investment, but let's assume I was paying rent. I could easily be out on the street.

WITH the fare hike, hopefully, I'll get $2 to $3 more an hour. That could be a significant amount. It still lags far behind what is really necessary. The first thing I'm going to do with my money is pay my bills. Funny thing about that.

I might go to a Broadway show. I'd love to see "The Producers.'' I'd love to get medical and dental. I have no insurance. I had a doctor in my cab the other day. That's the last time I saw a doctor. I'll probably get some dental work done.

I want to go to Pearl Oyster Bar and Mary's Fish Camp. I hear the lobster roll is good. I'm making a little money on the apartment, I should be able to buy myself a lobster roll.

These days, if I go on a date, it's Dutch. I used to pay for the woman. But with the raise, I don't know. If I say no, I'm still going to go Dutch, I'll never get a date. It depends on my circumstances. At my age, you don't get too many dates anyway. It's hard to be an old roué if you don't have money.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Ninjahedge
April 26th, 2004, 04:57 PM
http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2004/03/30/nyregion/cabfare.gif

I think cabs are going to need bigger doors.

Kris
April 28th, 2004, 03:41 PM
Wanted: New Cabs (http://www.metropolismag.com/html/content_0304/obj/index.html)
A look back at a classic MoMA show on taxi design reveals the sorry state of today’s fleet.

TonyO
April 28th, 2004, 04:27 PM
This metropolis magazine article sounds a bit pretentious to me. If one is outraged by the state of taxis, then one has a few options:

1) Call car service, where almost all of the cars are Towncars - roomy and comfortable.

2) Use all the extra time and money you spend complaining to buy your own car and repark it 3 times a week.

3) walk or take the subway like millions of other NYers

Ninjahedge
April 28th, 2004, 05:20 PM
But that still does not solve the problem.

If you want something changed, AND you have no power to do it yourself, you have to tell the ones that do.

Who says that these people are not calling the other services or walking?

My main contension is that these things are TAXIs!!!! Since when do taxis need a V6 to get around NYC? And why are they all strait gas engines?

It would probably be better, more economical, more envirnmentally friendly, and SAFER if we were to get some lower-power hybrids or strait electrics out there.

TonyO
April 28th, 2004, 06:31 PM
Most of the time I would agree with that, but I take cabs regularly and have had only one bad experience in regards to the condition of the cab.

When you talk about environmental sustainability, I respond that if the price of those alternatives save money and don't put cabbies out of business - then by all means.

There is progress. Not long ago, cabs were used police cruisers, which were past their prime and spewed more smog than a new car.

Kris
May 3rd, 2004, 05:25 AM
May 3, 2004

Rises in Fares and Leases Leave City Cabbies With Mixed Feelings

By PATRICK HEALY

The stickers on the car doors are new. The meters are recalibrated. The army of taxi drivers is eager, and wary.

Starting today, a taxi ride in New York City costs more for the first time in eight years, as a fare increase of more than 25 percent took effect at 12:01 a.m.

The base fare for a ride in one of New York's 12,000 yellow cabs is now $2.50, up from $2, and the rate for every one-fifth of a mile rose to 40 cents from 30. Riders will also have to pay a new $1 dollar surcharge from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., a fee intended to draw out more cabs during rush hour.

For riders, an average cab ride of 2.6 miles now costs $8.30 - $1.70 more than it used to. But the effects of the fare increase on the city's mostly immigrant taxi drivers are much muddier.

Bruce Schaller, a taxi consultant who has analyzed past rate increases, said drivers stand to make 30 percent more. But in interviews, more than a dozen drivers said they feared they would take a hit. As they waited at clogged Midtown taxi stands and cruised for fares in Chelsea yesterday, drivers said they worried the increase would prompt lease fees to climb and ridership to drop, and would mean a sharp decrease in tips.

"It's not going to the drivers," said Babi Omer, who said that he has driven a leased cab for five years. Mr. Omer said the company he leases a cab from was raising its weekly fees by $200. "It's going to the fleet, to the sharks," he said.

When the Taxi and Limousine Commission approved the fare increase on March 30, it also increased by 8 percent the maximum a cab-leasing company can charge drivers. That increase, which varies according to the type of lease and among different companies, also took effect at 12:01 a.m. today. Driver after driver complained that weekly leases were going up $70 to $200, an increase they predicted would eat up the additional money they make from the higher fares.

But Mr. Schaller, who was once the policy director for the Taxi and Limousine Commission, said nearly all taxi companies lease cars for less than the legal cap, which is rising to $666 from $617 per week on a single-shift medallion cab.

"The drivers are going to earn more money, no question about it," said the taxi commission chairman, Matthew W. Daus. "For the first time, they're going to be able to earn a livable wage."

But there will be costs, Mr. Schaller said. He said ridership was likely to drop by a "pretty typical" 8 percent after the fare increase, and then gradually recover over time as taxi rates decrease relative to inflation.

The president of the state Federation of Taxi Drivers, Fernando Mateo, said the fare increase was overdue, and at a news conference yesterday outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal, he implored riders not to stop tipping drivers.

"Be fair to your drivers,'' he said. "They need the tip."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Kris
May 7th, 2004, 05:47 AM
12,000 NYC Taxis; Five Are Accessible (http://gothamgazette.com/article/civilrights/20040507/3/970)

Kris
May 7th, 2004, 03:13 PM
New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com

A fare trade

$1 bonus is bringing out hacks for evening rush

By TASHA SOTOMAYOR
and TAMER EL-GHOBASHY
DAILY NEWS WRITERS

Friday, May 7th, 2004

From Columbus Circle to Union Square, getting a cab during the evening rush hour this week didn't take much more a than a New York minute.

The notorious scramble for an empty taxi after work is proving less frustrating for many New Yorkers, thanks to a $1 surcharge imposed on rides between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., a Daily News survey found.

The $1 fee, part of the new fare hike scheme that started Monday, is intended to get more hacks on the street during the historically cab-scarce evening rush.

And, so far, it seems to be working.

"It didn't take me nearly as long to find a cab," said Rosalyn O'Neale, 53, an MTV executive who travels by taxi from her Times Square office to her midtown apartment.

O'Neale said it typically took 10 to 15 minutes to find a cab after work, making it easier just to walk home some of the time.

This week, it took about five minutes to flag down a driver.

"There are a lot more available," she said. "It's worth the extra dollar."

The News, armed with timers, hit the streets over three nights this week and observed dozens of riders hailing cabs from prime Manhattan locations.

Some of the findings:
Near Columbus Circle between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., it took an average of 1 minute, 40 seconds to find an empty cab. Out of every dozen taxis that passed, about four were empty.

At Herald Square, commuters waited about a minute.

In Union Square, the average wait was 2 minutes, 20 seconds.

Bryant Park was the most crowded location, with a 6-minute, 15-second wait.

At bustling Penn Station, the average wait time for a cab at a taxi stand was a measly 20 seconds.
"I usually have a line of people waiting and no cabs," said dispatcher Caesar Bell, 56, an eight-year veteran of the Seventh Ave. stand. "Today, it's moving like clockwork."

Many cab drivers end or begin their shifts between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., leaving a scarcity of taxis at the time when they're most needed. But with the new surcharge, many cabbies appear to be adjusting their hours - to the benefit of riders.

"It's a home run for the public and good for the drivers," said Vincent Sapone, director of the League of Mutual Taxi Owners, which represents 3,400 owner-operators. "The idea was to keep more cabs out there, and it's working."

Hector Suero, 48, who has driven a cab for 21 years, said he has noticed "many, many more" taxis during rush hour.

"One dollar more makes a difference," said Suero, of Washington Heights. "It's more money for us and good for our customers because they won't have to wait so long."

Matthew Daus, Taxi and Limousine Commission chairman, said it will take time to study the full effect of the rush-hour surcharge, but early indications support The News' findings.

A lack of cabs during rush-hour was "one of the biggest complaints we had from New Yorkers, and that resulted in this initiative," Daus said. "We're cautiously optimistic, but there seems to be a very positive response."

With Soni Sangha

http://www.nydailynews.com/images/graphics/cabs.jpg

Kris
May 16th, 2004, 01:59 AM
May 16, 2004

COPING

With Fare Rise, Small Luxury Becomes a Big Question

By ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS

http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2004/05/16/nyregion/thecity/16colm.gif
Lisa Haney

FOR some people, taking a taxi is one of those guilty pleasures, like sleeping in or exchanging gossip in the sauna. They know in their heart of hearts that taking the subway, even now that the fare is $2, would help them save money for the necessities of life, like college loans and 2,000 channels on cable TV.

But it's nice to breeze home from a late night at the office 20 minutes faster than the ride on the A train. Nice not to spend the commuting studiously avoiding eye contact while rubbing thighs and shoulders with countless strangers who are feeling just as beat-up and edgy as you. Nice not to have to climb down a zillion stairs into a dank pit of a subway station, which, by the way, seems noticeably dirtier, the $2 fare notwithstanding.

When you look at it that way, the choice can seem obvious, like whether to eat broccoli because it's good for you or treat yourself to an ice-cream sundae. Or to put it another way, if you were Carrie Bradshaw, which phase of her charmed life of sex in the city would you prefer: the one in which she wore Candies and took the subway, as one character put it when describing her early years, or the one in which she wore Manolo Blahniks and got to choose between Misha and Mr. Big?

Clearly, the taxi wins out. Besides, after eight years without a fare increase, the cost of a ride had come to seem like a bargain if only because it remained constant while the price of everything from real estate to shoes seemed to soar. But the equation got more complicated two weeks ago when the fare for a New York City yellow cab went up 26 percent, for the first time in eight years.

"It was more of a surprise than I expected, even though I'm totally in favor of the increase," admitted Tom Gannon, a lawyer who has built his morning routine, from toothbrush to coffee, around the assumption that a taxi can whisk him from his Lower East Side apartment to his Upper East Side office in 12 minutes flat. When he saw the new fare on the meter - now averaging $10 to $11 instead of $8 or $9 - his first reaction was sticker shock, so much so, he acknowledged sheepishly, that he could not bring himself to tip at the higher rate.

Fran Manushkin, a children's book author who lives on the Upper East Side, had a similar reaction when she flew into Kennedy Airport from a birthday trip to the Galápagos Islands. When she climbed into the taxi, the driver told her that the flat fee to Manhattan was $45, plus tolls. When she did not react, he repeated the price, apparently reluctant to pull away from the curb until he was sure she had that kind of cash on hand and was willing to hand it over.

Actually, Ms. Manushkin was too stunned to react. "I decided to fly right back to Quito, Ecuador, where the fare from the airport to downtown was only $5, and sometimes negotiable to four," she said drily. Just kidding. But the new airport fare, up from $35, did not put Ms. Manushkin in the mood to take another taxi any time soon.

She may not be alone. Standing at 57th Street and Eighth Avenue one rush hour last week, it was possible to count 63 empty cabs cruising by between 5 p.m. and 5:20 p.m., an average of one every 19 seconds - not heretofore a common sight during a Midtown rush hour. But now with a $1 surcharge, the fare is fully loaded at rush hour.

The cabdrivers themselves were not exactly crowing over the raise. "You understand, Miss, we lose money," lectured Iqbal Singh, who has been driving for five years and bought his medallion in July for the bargain price of $225,000 (they've since hit $300,000-plus). Not only are fewer people taking cabs, he complained, but by putting 300 more cabs on the street, with about 600 more to come, the city has increased the ratio of cabs to passengers, and the competition for passengers.

Hard data on the impact of the fare will come in four months, when the city reads the meters. Vincent Sapone, head of the League of Mutual Taxi Owners, blames the nice weather for inspiring people to walk rather than ride (the best time for a fare-hike is in the fall, he confides).

Perhaps, as experts predict, both drivers and passengers will grow accustomed to the new landscape. In the meantime, one could do worse than follow the advice of Benay Bubar, whose aversion to taxis was honed by her small-town childhood in Glens Falls, N.Y., where a four-mile ride to the train station costs $6 and cabs are called, not hailed. Ms. Bubar, a 30-year-old magazine production editor, has hailed a cab only twice in her 10 years in New York, partly because she gets flummoxed by having to work out the tip in her head.

Does she never indulge in guilty pleasures? Well, yes. She likes the occasional bunch of flowers. Romantic comedies give her a lift. And if all else fails, "I'm a big fan of ice cream sundaes."

E-mail: amh@nytimes.com

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

krulltime
July 22nd, 2004, 10:46 AM
STRAPHANGERS TELL CABBIES: TAKE A HIKE


By CLEMENTE LISI Transit Reporter
July 22, 2004

Higher taxi fares have apparently driven more commuters to take buses and subways, with riders taking a MetroCard swipe at more expensive yellow cabs.

Weekday and weekend bus and subway ridership shot up in May, according to an MTA ridership report expected to be released today — just as a 26 percent hack hike went into effect.

Average weekday bus and subway ridership grew to 7.3 million in May — up 2.6 percent compared to the same month last year.

Weekday subway ridership reached 4.76 million in May — up 2.7 percent compared to the same month last year.

Weekday bus ridership soared to 2.56 million — up 2.3 percent compared to the same period last year.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission raised rates on May 3, elevating the cost of an average 2.6-mile taxi with five minutes' waiting time from $6.85 to $8.45.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority raised bus and subway fares 50 cents to $2 in May 2003.

TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg said preliminary numbers show a "small decline" in yellow taxi ridership.

"Coming into the summer, you always see a small seasonal dip," he said. "People go on vacation."

Fromberg said complete statistics wouldn't be available until later this year.

The MTA credits ridership growth to the city's strengthening economy.

Beverly Dolinsky, executive director of the New York City Transit Riders Council, a transportation watchdog group, said there is a connection between higher cab fares and growth in mass transit.

"People opt to take a bus or subway, especially on shorter trips when you notice that a ride costs a few extra dollars," she said.

Bus and subway ridership grew even more on weekends.

Overall weekend ridership reached 7.4 million — up 7.2 percent compared to the same month last year.

Weekend subway ridership reached a 30-year high for the month of May, climbing to 4.7 million riders — an increase of 7.5 percent compared to last year.

Weekend bus ridership reached a 28-year high for the month, reaching 2.7 million passengers — up 6.7 percent compared to last year.

Some riders said they have changed their habits.

"You get there at the same time whether you take a cab or a subway," said Maxi Ojeda, 26, an administrative assistant from The Bronx.

"I haven't taken a cab in months."

Tanisha Williams, 18, who comes from Brooklyn and works as an intern at a law firm, said taking a taxi is never an option because it's too expensive.

"I don't take cabs at all," she said. "I take the bus on the weekends and the subway to work. Paying for a cab is too much."


Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc.

NewYorkYankee
July 22nd, 2004, 03:55 PM
2) Use all the extra time and money you spend complaining to buy your own car and repark it 3 times a week.


Why do you have to repark your car 3 times a week? :?

Schadenfrau
July 22nd, 2004, 04:27 PM
Because of alternate side of the street parking laws:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/motorist/scrintro.html

ZippyTheChimp
November 17th, 2005, 11:55 PM
November 14, 2005
Autos on Monday | Design

Imagining the Taxi's Future, With a Nod to Checkers Past

By MICHELLE HIGGINS

ONE day, flagging down a taxicab may take nothing more than pushing a button on your cellphone. That enticing solution to an everyday challenge of city life is among the many proposals offered in "Designing the Taxi: Rethinking New York City's Movable Public Space," an exhibit that opened on Nov. 3 at the Manhattan gallery of Parsons the New School for Design.

The suggestions to improve the city's taxi fleet, which range from thoughtful touches like built-in child seats to ambitious new vehicle designs that include glass roofs and back-seat satellite maps, came from two workshops held last spring in which drivers, owners, city planners and designers offered ideas for a yellow-cab makeover.

Proposals from the project, a collaboration between Parsons and the Design Trust for Public Space, can be seen in a display of drawings at the gallery at 2 West 13th Street, on view through Jan. 15.

"A whole retooling of the back seat experience is under way and is starting to reach fruition," Matthew W. Daus, chairman of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, said. "This is the perfect timing for the Design Trust's work."

The show's concepts for all-new taxis won't replace today's fleet, which includes 12,000 Ford Crown Victorias, anytime soon. But some details from the design exercise would quite likely be popular with cab riders
immediately.

Vacant or Occupied? Your Answer in Plain Language

With a quick glance, those savvy in the ways of the city can decipher the code of a cab's rooftop lights to determine whether it is occupied, vacant or off-duty. But it is not so obvious to the many tourists who visit the Big Apple each year, and even eagle-eyed New Yorkers may find it hard to tell if a taxi is available when bright sun overwhelms the lights. One proposal to make spotting an available cab easier calls for enlarging the signs and using L.E.D.'s, or light-emitting diodes, to spell out a literal description of the cab's status. The messages might also be color-coded for quick recognition.

Mod Dsgn, Grt City Vu

Riding inside today's cabs, passengers miss some of the best sights of this vertical city. But this proposed design, with its fishbowl roof, gives riders an unrestricted view overhead. For privacy, the roof is one-way glass; inside, a console with a built-in digital camera lets visitors capture favorite views and make prints. The seats are raised to give passengers a better vantage point.

Bigger Than It Looks

Cabs are sized for maximum loads - say, a family flying off to an overseas vacation - but there is just one passenger in nearly 70 percent of all taxi trips, according to the New York City Taxicab Fact Book. The MiniModal concept, at 67 inches wide and 80 inches high, is narrower than a Honda Civic (http://edmunds.nytimes.com/new/2005/honda/civic/100469590/review.html?inline=nyt-classifier) but taller than an Odyssey minivan. It seats two plus a passenger in a wheelchair; without a wheelchair, a fold-down seat accommodates two more people.

Channeling the Checker for a 21st Century Cab

Inspired by the classic Checkers that dominated New York City taxi fleets for many years - the last one was retired in 1999 - this design marries the signature checkerboard graphics and bulbous styling of the old models with new-age conveniences. Instead of swinging out into traffic lanes, the doors would open from the center, sliding away from each other.

The front passenger seat faces rearward, so a person sitting next to the driver is not excluded from back-seat banter. The front seat also folds, providing more legroom for rear-seat passengers or extra space for large packages when a shopping spree has already filled the trunk.

More Than a Barrier

In June, the Taxi and Limousine Commission requested suggestions for materials, designs and technologies that could be incorporated into new taxicab partitions. One proposal recommended a back-seat monitor that would display a cab's speed, location and estimated arrival time using global positioning satellites. The monitor would also display traffic conditions so passengers would know why the driver was heading to the tunnel instead of the bridge.

In addition, the panel would house conveniences like a payment system that accepted credit cards or a MetroCard transit pass. Other possible features to make life easier for business travelers would include wireless Internet access and an electrical outlet to charge cellphones.

Exit Stage Right

In this proposal, a lighted rear display would alert other drivers when a passenger was entering or exiting the taxi. At the same time, an interior panel on the partition would warn exiting passengers not to open the door into the path of a pedestrian or bike rider. Of course, none of these warnings would stop drivers to the rear from honking as a passenger fumbles for cab fare.


Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

antinimby
November 18th, 2005, 06:48 AM
ONE day, flagging down a taxicab may take nothing more than pushing a button on your cellphone.Unless you're a young black male.:)

Ninjahedge
November 18th, 2005, 08:52 AM
They can still flag it, but it does not mean they will stop..... ;)


Oh, I think the cell phone thing is a good idea. That and TRACKING SOFTWARE so they can see exactly how suicidal these arsewipes are on the road!!!!!!!!


The fishbowl idea is navel, but unnecessary, but the satelite maps would be handy. Wireless internet in the back seat AND front seat would help a lot to stop when you tell the driver "425 Layfayette street" and he ends up driving you to Brooklyn. ;)

ablarc
July 21st, 2006, 08:20 PM
Taxicabs should be purpose-built. A good cab should carry five passengers in reasonable comfort, be spacious, tall enough to be easy to get in and out of, and have regular swinging doors instead of sliders.

That describes a Checker. These were maybe the best cabs ever:

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/taxi/0069.jpg

There are no cabs in use in New York City that fit the above requirements in all particulars. For a while there was one:

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/newyorkcity/0069.JPG

milleniumcab, is this one still in use? This is a pretty nice cab, though I’d prefer it without the diesel clatter and fumes. In London, where legal specifications for cabs are stringent, only a purpose-built cab can fit the bill. I assume these haven’t taken over in New York, because their cost is high; they’re monopolistically produced. A London example, garishly painted:

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/taxi/1.jpg

If all the world’s cities drew up uniform specifications like the ones above, several companies would jump in to compete, and the price would come down due to volume production and business competition.

milleniumcab
July 22nd, 2006, 08:35 PM
http://66.230.220.70/images/post/newyorkcity/0069.JPG

milleniumcab, is this one still in use?

Yes, it is ablarc. London Cabs cost more than $50,000, twice the cost of a Crown Vic.

I had a conversation with a couple of passengers who were in that cab and they did not like the ride at all..

ablarc
July 22nd, 2006, 11:21 PM
I had a conversation with a couple of passengers who were in that cab and they did not like the ride at all..
What was the problem?

pianoman11686
July 22nd, 2006, 11:44 PM
An appropriate article:

Still Yellow, Only Bigger

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/07/23/nyregion/thecity/taxi600.jpg
Riding high in Victor Salazar’s minivan taxi, which has doors that slide open.

By JAKE MOONEY

Published: July 23, 2006

THE yellow cab, that icon of the city, is changing shape.

Before 2003, when the Taxi and Limousine Commission authorized Toyota Siennas for use as medallion cabs, minivan taxis of some other makes and models were permitted but rare. Since then, a few hundred new minivans, mostly Siennas, have entered service each year, and they now make up about 10 percent of the city’s nearly 13,000 taxis.

The challenge to the Ford Crown Victoria — by far the most common yellow cab — may well continue, not only with further inroads by regular minivans but also with 54 minivans that are more handicapped-accessible and are due to enter the fleet in coming months, along with more than 200 hybrid sport-utility vehicles.

Matthew W. Daus, the T.L.C. commissioner, likes this different look. “I haven’t heard a negative thing from either a driver or a passenger about the minivans,” he said. The commission is studying ways to overhaul the design of city cabs starting next year, and Mr. Daus said, “A minivan is certainly up there prominently in terms of the way the vehicles might end up looking.”

Victor Salazar, who owns a 2004 Toyota Sienna minivan taxi, is another fan. The minivans, which have six-cylinder engines, use less gas than the eight-cylinder Crown Victorias, drivers said. Minivan drivers also sit a little higher and have a little more room, which makes a big difference in a 12-hour shift. “I never found myself comfortable in the Crown Victoria,” Mr. Salazar said. “Maybe some taxi drivers are short, but I’m 5 foot 10.”

There are dissenting views. While Mr. Salazar said many passengers enjoyed the minivan ride, drivers said that some older people struggled with opening the sliding doors or with stepping into the cabs, which sit higher than the Crown Victorias. Mr. Salazar knows of one minivan driver who has a set of plastic steps for riders.

Also, the large cab companies prefer the Crown Victoria for its durability. Parts for the Siennas wear out faster and cost more than Crown Victoria parts, said Richard Wissak, co-owner of 55 Stan Operating Corporation, a 125-cab fleet based in Long Island City. Company-owned cars — as opposed to privately owned ones, like Mr. Salazar’s — face more wear because they may be driven as much as 22 or 23 hours a day, by multiple drivers.

“The minivans, the fleets really discovered that they were just not holding up,” said Michael Woloz, spokesman for the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, an industry group.

And, Mr. Woloz added, the Crown Victoria, which Ford extended by six inches a few years ago, now has more legroom than a minivan.

Mr. Salazar said his big cab boasted an extra benefit: on his days off, he can load it up with family and supplies and head for the beach.

“If the parts weren’t so expensive for the Toyota,” he said, “I’d be the happiest taxi driver in Manhattan.”

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

milleniumcab
July 23rd, 2006, 03:10 AM
What was the problem?

They complained about how rough the ride was...like they were riding in a truck...

milleniumcab
July 23rd, 2006, 03:25 AM
I own one of those Siennas and I agree with the article. They are comfortable to drive and ride in. Complaints come mostly from the elderly. Like the article said , my only complaint about the Japanese made Sienna is the expensive parts.

Hey we can't have our cake and eat it too.. At least not right now, hopefully in the future...A Hybrid Minivan that is acceptable by the fleets is the way to go.. Cost and durability is the most important issues..

One thing I should mention is the Wheel Chair Accesible Minivan Taxis are converted into Accesible vehicles and they do not hold up to the NYC Streets. They are having all sorts of problems at the TLC Inspection Site, failing the inspection at a much higher rate than the Crown Vics or the Siennas..

ablarc
July 23rd, 2006, 09:16 AM
At least from a body-configuration standpoint, a recent NY cab that hit the nail on the head was the previous generation Honda Odyssey, aka Isuzu Oasis. This car was much easier to get in and out of than a Sienna or current Oasis, because its floor was a bit lower (though still much higher than a Crown Vic's) and the doors swung open like a sedan's instead of sliding. Also the car was smaller and lighter, and therefore likely both easier to drive and cheaper at the pump.

It probably had durability problems if the current Sienna has them. My question is: why? American cars are generally less reliable than Japanese models. Is it that the parts' high cost built a perception in cabbies' minds that these were lemons? Or do they really not hold up as well? If so, then how hard would it be to identify the trouble spots and beef them up --like a heavy duty police cruiser? Or they could always crank up the Checker plant again...

That London cab: I think the impression of truck-like roughness comes at least partly from the sounds emitted by the diesel engine. Sounds like a truck, must ride like a truck. Everyone knows they ride rough, right? Substitute a nice silent gasoline engine and people's perception might change along with the motor.

milleniumcab
July 23rd, 2006, 02:43 PM
The Crown Vics come out of the Ford factory as a taxi with the heavy duty package. They have recently, at the request of the city and the industry, extended the car 6 inches from the middle to the back thus making the roomiest cab out there. The Ford have done quite a bit to keep it's monopoly with the fleets, if not with the individual owners. Unless another car manufacturer comes up with a durable vehicle that has a reasonable price tag, we won't see much of a change anytime soon.

We have to, somehow, get the manufacturers to understand that designing the ideal taxi is to their advantage and create competitive atmosphere in order to change things for the better.. And that's not an easy task.

About the LOndon Cab ablarc, the complaint was really about the suspension system rather than the engine noise..

ablarc
July 23rd, 2006, 02:50 PM
About the LOndon Cab ablarc, the complaint was really about the suspension system rather than the engine noise..
I know that. My point was that one affects perception of the other.

ablarc
July 26th, 2006, 08:52 PM
The perfect cab, the new Ford Freestyle (200.1"): http://www.fordvehicles.com/cars/freestyle/index.asp?SECTION=PHOTO_GALLERY Be sure you see the interior cutaway.

milleniumcab
July 27th, 2006, 12:14 AM
I am having trouble loading the picture from that site. I wonder if I am the only one?...:(

ablarc
July 27th, 2006, 07:31 AM
Works fine for me.

Patience. Do you have DSL?

Ninjahedge
July 27th, 2006, 08:47 AM
Ford.

meh.

milleniumcab
July 27th, 2006, 09:37 AM
Works fine for me.

Patience. Do you have DSL?

No.. Cable/Roadrunner

Ninjahedge
July 27th, 2006, 10:49 AM
Funny, I did not know yellowcabs had Cable......

:confused:

pianoman11686
July 27th, 2006, 06:03 PM
Somewhat related:

Town Car’s Next Stop: Retirement

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/07/16/automobiles/16towncar600.jpg
The 2006 Lincoln Town Car: Just one more year to go?

By JERRY GARRETT

Published: July 16, 2006

THE Lincoln Town Car — ubiquitous black-car transportation for executives, soft-riding favorite of septuagenarians and Lincoln’s best seller since its debut as a 1981 model — will soon be joining many of its owners in retirement.

The Ford Motor Company appears set to discontinue the big Lincoln after the 2007 model year. Also going away under a company consolidation plan called the Way Forward is another strong-selling Ford model, the Taurus, which has had a longer best-selling run than the original Model T. Under the cost-cutting plan, Ford is closing two dozen plants through 2010.

“There will be a 2007 model Town Car,” Alan Hall, a Lincoln spokesman, said last week in response to questions about the car’s future. “We have confirmed that.”

But a trade publication, Automotive News, has reported that there is little chance a Town Car will be made after 2007. The car is built at a plant in Wixom, Mich., that will be shut early next year.

While it once seemed likely that Ford would shift production to an underused Ontario factory that builds two structurally similar models — the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis — the company has told the Canadian Auto Workers union that it will not do so.

Thus, with production ruled out at both plants where Town Cars could be economically produced, the 2007 model would appear to be the last of Lincoln’s signature model and perennial best seller. The Town Car, like the Crown Victoria and Mercury Marquis, is based on Ford’s rear-drive Panther platform architecture, which dates to the 1970’s. Ford has indicated that it will make the Ford and Mercury sedans until at least 2010, Automotive News reported.

George Peterson, president of the AutoPacific consulting firm, said: “It blows everybody’s mind that they are dropping the Town Car. Just think what Ford could do if they actually invested in a re-skin of Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis and Town Car.”

Despite decades-old mechanical components and styling that has barely been freshened in years, the three cars remain popular with traditionalists and fleet customers.

Lincoln’s timing would seem to be a boon for DaimlerChrysler, which is about to start production of a long-wheelbase version of the popular Chrysler 300 sedan that will have a roomier back seat tailor-made for duty as an executive shuttle. Chrysler has also unveiled a luxurious Imperial concept car; if put into production, it would be likely to appeal to the same luxury-car buyers and limousine-livery fleet operators who have been Town Car loyalists for many years.

J. D. Power & Associates, the big market research firm, has given the Town Car high ratings in quality, customer satisfaction and owner loyalty.

Ford has tried to squeeze out at least eight years between Town Car model changes; the current third-generation Town Car has changed little since 1998. Its 4.6-liter V-8 is relatively underpowered, producing just 239 horsepower, and its four-speed automatic transmission is a dinosaur.

The Town Car is the largest American car produced and one of the more expensive, with base prices of $42,055 to $50,525. Town Cars are heavily discounted, though, and currently carry rebates of up to $7,000 — plus discount financing.

The Wixom plant is on a pace to produce about 45,000 Town Cars this year, which would be slightly less than Lincoln’s least expensive model, the Zephyr-cum-MKZ.

Automotive News has reported that Ford will give Lincoln a minivanlike vehicle based on the Fairlane design study shown at the 2005 Detroit auto show. Ford announced last week that it would begin producing a Ford version of that utility wagon, which resembles vintage Range Rovers.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

ablarc
July 27th, 2006, 06:36 PM
Another chapter in the ongoing ritual suicide of the American auto industry, which is beset by stupidity of decision making so titanic that it should have a monument built to it.

Sure, of course: the way to make money is to cut your best-selling models that no one competes with.

Chrysler, meanwhile, makes hay; after all, it's not really an American company, so its executives aren't required to be stupid.

milleniumcab
July 27th, 2006, 11:23 PM
Funny, I did not know yellowcabs had Cable......

:confused:

:D :D :D .. I have it at home not in my cab but believe or not, soon you'll be able search the web in a cab:))) GPS is coming...

milleniumcab
July 27th, 2006, 11:27 PM
Another chapter in the ongoing ritual suicide of the American auto industry, which is beset by stupidity of decision making so titanic that it should have a monument built to it.

Sure, of course: the way to make money is to cut your best-selling models that no one competes with

You hit it right on the head ablarc...

ablarc
July 28th, 2006, 04:13 PM
The real McCoy:

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/taxi/47.jpg
When men were men and taxis were DeSotos.

milleniumcab
July 29th, 2006, 12:14 AM
The real McCoy:

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/taxi/47.jpg
When men were men and taxis were DeSotos.

I'll give you that but do you really think DESOTO would make it as a a taxi nowdays....:rolleyes:

ablarc
July 29th, 2006, 08:26 AM
I'll give you that but do you really think DESOTO would make it as a a taxi nowdays....:rolleyes:
Why not?

milleniumcab
July 29th, 2006, 02:11 PM
Uuuummmm... it's size, it's mpg..:rolleyes:

ablarc
July 29th, 2006, 03:35 PM
Uuuummmm... it's size, it's mpg..:rolleyes:
Actually, maybe not. Length was eighteen and a half feet. What is that: a foot more than that stretched Crown Vic? But it sure as hell was bigger because it was taller --like your Sienna. This allowed more vertical seating, easier access and egress, and it had those jump seats every cab should have that give you five passengers without any in the front seat. Engine was just 6 cylinders and 3.8 liters, but the car had less weight of its own to haul around --much less than a comparable-length car of today (Town Car?) with air conditioning side-impact beams, airbags and all that other heavy equipment.

Remember: like the Checker and the London cab, this car was specifically designed to be a taxi. In its time, it dominated the ranks of New York's cab fleet just as surely as the Crown Vic does now; and it was much better suited to its task from the standpoint of a passenger; and besides a need for A/C, nothing much has changed about driving in New York.

milleniumcab
July 30th, 2006, 12:39 AM
^ You are making me wish I had one...:) ..

Now, if we could only have a car manufacturer design a car, only to be used as a taxi, we might have the DESOTO back...;)

clubBR
April 5th, 2007, 07:06 AM
The NEW New York Taxi's:
http://www.amny.com/media/photo/2007-04/28818798.jpg
http://www.amny.com/media/photo/2007-04/28818832.jpg
http://www.amny.com/media/photo/2007-04/28818833.jpg
http://www.amny.com/media/photo/2007-04/28818236.jpg
eTaxi is a passenger information monitor, which offers riders interactive content on a variety of topics.
http://www.amny.com/media/photo/2007-04/28818722.jpg
The hand stand's aim is to connect cab drivers and pedestrians by increasing attention to existing designated cab spaces.

http://www.amny.com/

ablarc
April 5th, 2007, 07:36 AM
^ Checker was no thing of beauty, but this thing is just too ugly to succeed.

ZippyTheChimp
April 5th, 2007, 08:08 AM
Entire article here. (http://www.amny.com/news/local/am-taxis0405,0,4783978.story?coll=am-homepage-swapbox)

One good idea is a new top light.
http://www.amny.com/media/photo/2007-04/28819106.jpg

I think it was a mistake when they changed from the plastic ones that glowed. It was easier to spot a vacant cab.
http://www.amny.com/media/photo/2007-04/28819097.jpg

MikeW
April 5th, 2007, 05:13 PM
Since we're talking taxis...

Maybe it's time to eliminate the medallion system, and start a new taxi licensing system from scratch. License the drivers, NOT the cars (the cars would still have to be inspected and meet technical requirements). Make the licenses non-transferable. If there needs to be a numerical limit, limit the number of drivers. Make the license fee high enough that no one would hold one if they're not going to use it, but don't make it so high as to be a major element of the drivers annual expenses.

Then when calculating the fairs, use the elimination of the medalion leasing costs in the calculation, and reduce the fairs while not reducing (and maybe increasing) the drivers' profits.

milleniumcab
April 8th, 2007, 10:29 PM
^^^ Would you be willing to compensate me and 13000 other owners with their medallions' value first or simply say just too bad?. Just curious MikeW.....

milleniumcab
April 8th, 2007, 10:31 PM
^ Checker was no thing of beauty, but this thing is just too ugly to succeed.

I agree with all my heart....

milleniumcab
April 8th, 2007, 10:34 PM
Entire article here. (http://www.amny.com/news/local/am-taxis0405,0,4783978.story?coll=am-homepage-swapbox)

One good idea is a new top light.
http://www.amny.com/media/photo/2007-04/28819106.jpg

I think it was a mistake when they changed from the plastic ones that glowed. It was easier to spot a vacant cab.


The roof top sign should glow green when vacant, red when occupied and yellow when off duty...

clubBR
April 8th, 2007, 10:47 PM
milleniumcab, by any chance are you a cab driver?

milleniumcab
April 8th, 2007, 11:00 PM
What made you guess right?...:D

MikeW
April 9th, 2007, 09:45 PM
I'm curious. Obviously the medallions are transferrable (given the robust market in them). But they are basically just a city license to pick up hails of the street. When they were issued, did the city make any promise that they would be honored into perpetuity? If they did, let me know, but I tend to think not. The entire cab industry just chose to treat them like property. But without the above mentioned commitment on the part of the city, why are they any more property than, say, a drivers license or a car registration.

I have to ask if it serves the people of NYC to maintain this fallacy. How much of the cab fare represents the amount necessary to finance the medellion costs (you could probably answer that)? Maybe that money would be better off in the pockets of the cab riding public, as revenue to the city, or some combination.

And no, I wouldn't be willing to compensate you. You bought a piece of paper (or hunk of tin) that may very well have no guarantee of longevity. It's your problem.


^^^ Would you be willing to compensate me and 13000 other owners with their medallions' value first or simply say just too bad?. Just curious MikeW.....

milleniumcab
April 11th, 2007, 11:35 PM
And no, I wouldn't be willing to compensate you. You bought a piece of paper (or hunk of tin) that may very well have no guarantee of longevity. It's your problem.

If the City of New York decide to auction off 1000 more medallions and set the minimum upset prices for bidding, I think I can say with comfort that it comes with guarantee from the City....I just don't see it the same way as you...

BPC
April 12th, 2007, 08:13 AM
Under the latest SC authority, I feel fairly comfortable that revoking the licenses would be considered a "taking" under the Constitution entitling the holders to "just compensation (ie market value).

MikeW
April 12th, 2007, 03:05 PM
A taking is with regard to property. A medallion is nothing more than a city license. I think you'd have a hard time proving that a license constitutes the property of the licencee. If anything it's the property of the licencing agency.


Under the latest SC authority, I feel fairly comfortable that revoking the licenses would be considered a "taking" under the Constitution entitling the holders to "just compensation (ie market value).