On Thursday, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission will vote on a plan to raise taxi fares. The Commission explained in a public hearing on Monday that the plan seeks to increase the charge for a fifth of a mile traveled or a minute of idling from 40 cents to 50 cents. The $2.50 base fare would remain the same, so the Commission estimates the proposal would raise the average taxi fee 17 percent per ride.
The plan would also increase the flat rate fee between Manhattan and JFK Airport from $45 to $52 and raise the surcharge for trips between the city and Newark Liberty International Airport from $15 to $17.50. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance pushing the Commission to add surcharges to rush-hour and nighttime travel as well.
If passed, the fare hike would be the first across-the-board increase since 2004. The most recent increase came in 2009 when a 50 cent surcharge was added to support the Metropolitan Transport Authority.
The New York Times reported that while few attendees at the hearing opposed raising the fare, taxi drivers and fleet owners disputed whether or not the leasing fee for cabs should also increase. Drivers from the Taxi Workers Alliance contended that such an increase would negate the supposed benefit of raising the fare because all their new earnings would go directly to cab owners. Representatives from the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, on the other hand, argued that giving drivers a break would only add to owners’ already heavy financial burdens. As it currently stands, the plan would not raise the leasing fee, and also would replace the 5 percent credit card processing fee drivers are currently required to pay to owners with a $9-per-shift flat fee.
Additionally, the plan aims to put 6 cents from each trip towards health care and disability coverage for drivers, who currently do not have health insurance plans.
The Commission’s chairman David S. Yassky told the New York Times, “I expect [the plan]’ll be adopted.”
More details of the proposal can be found at the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s website.
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