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The Voice of the NYC Transportation Industry — Current Issue

The Wait Is Over ! TLC Votes For Fare Increase
Taxi Insider Editorial by David Pollack

All New York City taxi drivers finally have a reason to cheer out loud. The long awaited and well-deserved rate-of-fare increase was approved after over 5 hours of public testimony at Taxi & Limousine headquarters. The main public-hearing room filled up early with close to 100 people so an additional room was needed to accommodate an additional 50 people. Speaker after speaker, advocate after advocate, driver after driver testified in front of the commission on a variety of subjects proposed.

Two main points of the rate increase proposal were the focal points of many speakers; losing the 50 cent evening surcharge and keeping the waiting time at $12 per hour. Speakers reasoned that eliminating the 50-cent evening surcharge was equal to a decrease not an increase. (Public complaints about the unavailability of taxis during rush hour moved the TLC to propose a congestion pricing $1 surcharge from 4pm to 8pm.) Also mentioned by some speakers was a request to add a morning rush-hour surcharge. The zero increase from 90 seconds (30 cents) to 120 seconds (40 cents) in the waiting time was discussed by a number of drivers. A number of drivers wanted the lease cap to either remain the same or be lowered while others spoke about a fair distribution of the additional income to cover expenses.
The Committee for Taxi Safety proposed the idea of a mandatory annual review of expenses for the purpose of future rate-of-fare increases so that an 8-year wait will never occur again.
Additional experimental group riding stands were met positively although this writer mentioned the increased liability insurance exposure with an increased number of passengers, yet another reason for a mandatory annual review.
The Committee for Taxi Safety and other taxi associations questioned the implementation dates, costs and specifications for the various types of technological equipment proposed for all taxis. Chairman Matthew W. Daus will appoint a “project manager” this June to oversee all technological pilot projects in order to accumulate information for rules, specifications and standards needed to implement various devices in taxis. These will include GPS meters, GPS screens, information monitors for passengers, text messaging to drivers and scratchproof partitions.
Immediately after yours truly (the last public speaker) finished testifying, Commissioner Giannoulis proposed to raise the rate-of-fare as follows:

INITIAL DROP: $2.50

MILEAGE CHARGE:
$.40 PER 1/5 MILE

WAITING TIME:
$.40 PER 120 SECONDS

JFK FLAT RATE: $45.00

NIGHT SURCHARGE:
$.50 - 7 NIGHTS 8PM-6AM

PEAK HOUR PRICING:
$1.00 4PM-8PM

This above proposed rate of fare rule was voted on and passed unanimously. The first week in May the meter shops will start to recalibrate every taximeter in the city of New York with these new, approved rates. It is a victory for drivers. Congratulations drivers!


Additionally passed, was an increase in the existing lease caps. The gross lease caps for both daily shifts and long term leasing were raised a total of approximately 8%. Remember, long-term weekly leases at this time are approximately $25 per week less then they were 6 years ago. The increase in the cap for weekly long-term leasing is only $59. Fleet shift rates before the increase, were not at capacity for most shifts. This increase in the lease caps, do not mean lease prices will be at the maximum. The market will determine the lease prices as always. The rate increase gives drivers 26% additional income. You do the math. All New York City taxi drivers really do have a reason to cheer out loud.

 

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