October 26, 2006
Manhattan: Increase in Cab Fares
By WILLIAM NEUMAN
The Taxi and Limousine Commission yesterday unanimously approved a fare increase that will double the amount a passenger pays while a cab is stopped or stuck in slow traffic. The change amounts to an increase of approximately 11 percent to the overall fare. Taxi meters now charge 20 cents a minute while the vehicle is stopped or moving slowly. Under the new fare, which will go into effect in early December, the meter will charge 40 cents a minute. The commission also set a $45 flat rate fare from anywhere in Manhattan to Kennedy International Airport, to mirror the flat fare in effect for trips from the airport to Manhattan.
Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
New York Daily News
Cab fare hike? Yes, just wait & you'll see
BY IVAN PEREIRA and PETE DONOHUE
DAILY NEWS WRITERS
Thursday, October 26th, 2006
Good thing Santa uses a sleigh. Just in time for the holidays, the Taxi and Limousine Commission yesterday jacked up the cost of a cab ride - boosting the rate that passengers pay when cabs are stuck in traffic.
The new fare scheme, expected to go into effect in December, will increase the cost of an average trip - 2.8 miles with about 5 minutes of so-called wait time - by about $1. Such a trip now costs $8.65.
Cab riders were not in good cheer when told about the vote.
"It's outrageous," said Kate Cardamone, 80, of the upper East Side. "It's already expensive to live in New York."
Angie Hughes, 26, of Manhattan, said she's going underground.
"I'll probably be taking the subway a lot more now," Hughes said. "It's not a good fare increase because the traffic here gets worse and worse, and everything is going up."
But cabbies such as Leslie Destine, 60, from Brooklyn, said the higher fares are needed for them to make a decent living.
"It's a good idea," Destine said. "With slow traffic I don't make that much."
TLC Chairman Matthew Daus said the rate adjustment, as officials call it, is needed to ensure that a cabbie shortage doesn't develop.
"An experienced driver is safer, and quite frankly, an experienced driver is one that serves better," Daus said.
Here's the cost of a 2.8-mile trip under different traffic conditions and so-called wait times.
Current fare scheme
Wait time and fare
1 minute ......... $7.90
4.77 minutes .....8.65
9.54 minutes .... 9.61
New fare scheme with increased wait-time rate
Wait time and fare
1 minute ........... $8.10
4.77 minutes ...... 9.60
9.54 minutes .....11.52
Calculations do not include surcharges or tips.
HAIL $TORM OVER 'SLOW-TAXI' HIKE By JENNIFER FERMINO and JEREMY OLSHAN
October 26, 2006 -- A New York minute just got a lot more expensive. That's because the Taxi and Limousine Commission yesterday doubled the cost of being stuck in traffic in a cab.
Riders now pay 20 cents a minute for "wait time" - a price that hasn't changed in 16 years - but yesterday, officials voted unanimously to raise the rate to 40 cents a minute at a meeting in TLC headquarters.
Adding insult to injury, the wait-time rate will now click in when a cab starts going less than 12 miles per hour. Currently, the rate takes effect at under 6 mph.
Traffic experts say the average speed on avenues in Manhattan is 10.2 mph and on crosstown streets its 7.5 mph - meaning that most rides in the Big Apple will now be charged at 40 cents a minute.
When the cab is moving faster than 12 mph, the rate will stay $2 a mile in increments of 40 cents per fifth of a mile. The hike to $2 a mile came in 2004, and was a 26 percent increase on the previous pricing scheme.
The new rates mean that the average trip will go up by about a buck, according to TLC estimates.
But some trips could jump much more.
An average trip within Midtown - 1.13 miles with 6 minutes of idle time - currently costs $5.58, according to "The 2006 Taxicab Fact Book."
At the new rate, the same trip would clock in at $6.80 - a 21.9 percent hike.
A ride from Grand Central to Union Square - 2.19 miles - would jump just over 15 percent.
TLC Chairman Matthew Daus said the hike, which is expected to go into effect in December, was about giving cabbies a better standard of living.
"It's not easy to tell passengers that they are going to have to pay a little bit more," he said. But "we want to make sure that the drivers can make an adequate income."
Drivers are now earning an average of $158 per shift, according to industry experts. If they put in five shifts a week, that already means $41,000 a year.
And many cabbies might now opt to work extra shifts, Daus said.
He predicted more cabs will hit the streets during rush hour - when it's notoriously difficult to hail a ride - because cabbies can make more money.
The news of the hike was well received by drivers, who've long bemoaned the struggles of operating in one of the country's most costly and congested cities.
"It's about time," said driver Erhan Tuncel. "Traffic has gotten worse, not better."
Passengers, not surprisingly, disagreed strongly.
"We're stuck in traffic and we're paying more?" said Tanya Mazyck, 41, of Queens. "This isn't fair - but this is New York and it's never fair. I'll definitely take less cabs."
Shawn Obasi, 24, said he frequently takes cabs home to The Bronx after a weekend night in Manhattan. "I take cabs a lot, it's definitely going to affect me," he said. "That's a big difference."
Edmundo Gallardo, 46, of Queens, said, "I know a lot of cabdrivers that make money. They complain about the gas but look at gas prices - they've gone down."
Cabbies have been asking for a gas surcharge for a long time and were turned down. Yesterday's ruling may have been a way to compensate them.
But Katherine Ramirez, 34, of the Upper West Side, said that with the city's usual gridlock, raising the cost of waiting made no sense.
"It's insane. You know how much traffic there is in Manhattan," she said.
But Ioannis Mentzas, 34, of Queens, said: "It's still cheaper than hailing a gypsy cab."
In addition to the fare hike, the eight-member board also approved:
* A flat fare of $45 on trips from Manhattan to Kennedy Airport. The rate previously applied only to trips from JFK to Manhattan.
* A controversial move eliminating the requirement that cabbies demonstrate they are legal U.S. residents.
They now will only have to produce their original Social Security card and a valid driver's license.
"We don't have any business asking people if they are a citizen or not," Daus said.
NEW YORK POST is a registered trademark of NYP Holdings, Inc.
Cab fares go up
By Sara Stefanini
Special to amNewYork
October 26, 2006
Sitting in a yellow cab stuck in traffic will soon be more taxing on your wallet.
With enthusiastic backing from taxi drivers and advocates, the Taxi and Limousine Commission unanimously voted Wednesday to double the amount charged on the meter when a cab idles, raising the cost of an average fare by about a dollar.
Once the changes kick in, possibly in December, the meter will climb to 40 cents a minute when the car goes 12 miles per hour or less, instead of 20 cents a minute at 6 mph or less.
Although taxi fares went up in 2004, this is the first increase on "wait time" since 1990. The increase will bring the average taxi fare without tips to $9.61 from $8.65, the commission said, with cabs earning $24 for an hour of wait time, instead of $12.
The board also approved a flat $45 fare for cab rides from anywhere in Manhattan to Kennedy Airport, the same fee that already exists for trips originating at the airport.
But even that new flat fee is in essence a hike, as the average cost of a trip to the airport from Manhattan now is $36 to $43, except for rides from Washington Heights, which average $46.
"On behalf of 4,000 taxi drivers, thank you," David Pollack, executive director of the Committee for Taxi Safety, told the commission at Wednesday's public hearing.
"Thank you for understanding the pressures taxi drivers go through sitting in traffic."
Pollack noted that the new flat airport fare will encourage passengers to hail yellow cabs instead of using private cars or "gypsy" taxis, which people perceive to be cheaper but can charge up to $75.
New York has the 15th highest average fare out of 23 American cities, according to Schaller Consulting, which researches urban transportation issues.
When the commission last boosted taxi prices in 2004, the base price went up 50 cents to $2.50. When not idling, the meter charges 40 cents every one-fifth of a mile.
The wait-time hike was necessary to compensate for higher gas prices, said Bruce Schaller, the Brooklyn-based firm's principal consultant, adding that several cities have also upped fares.
Ehran Tuncel, a taxi driver, said the increase will also make cab rides safer because many drivers speed in order to keep the meter ticking.
"It's about time, really," Tuncel said. "People always complain about reckless taxi drivers."
Passengers' reactions Wednesday were mixed.
Mike Puno, a Fordham University senior, didn't mind too much.
"They're expensive already, in general, but for me a dollar isn't that bad," Puno, 21, said.
Leslie Woody, 46, rolled her eyes when she heard the news.
"That's crazy," said Woody, a funeral director who often takes taxis. "Knowing that, I'll take them even less."
Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.