The Voice of the NYC Transportation Industry November 2003
For Taxi Safety
Every transportation mode in and surrounding New York City has increased fares within the last year. It is not only the MTA that raised subway and bus fares by 33%, but the Metro North raised train fares. Additionally, New Jersey Transit raised all fares, the PATH Train raised rates 33% and all ferry prices went up this year. The yellow taxi industry in New York City still has not had a raise in our fare in almost eight years.
Here is part of the story nobody likes to talk about. Subsidies in the million$ of dollar$ are awarded yearly to our bus and subway companies and billions of dollars are awarded the airlines and AMTRAK annually.
As billions of dollars are given away each year in transportation subsidies, the yellow taxi drivers lose confidence in our government and confidence in their lives because they have not seen an additional penny in the form of a fare increase. Taxi drivers are not stupid. We know that voting is an important part of politics and that voting is our obligation and right in order to make change in the form of a fare increase. We see what "the other guy" gets. We are hardworking people who are professionals in every way and unfortunately have been all but forgotten in this unfair system.
The Committee for Taxi Safety is responsible for over a thousand taxi drivers registering to vote this past year. A day didn't go by during the summer that calls and e-mails thanking the Committee for Taxi Safety for their printed "Voter Registration Drive Information" in the Taxi Insider. Do not forget, we are a voting force! That is why the Committee for Taxi Safety is actively making people remember this industry is a voting force, whether they like it or not. How can the right for an increase in "take home" pay for any worker be looked upon negatively after almost eight years of waiting? Something is definitely wrong with the system.
We do not get the million$ and billion$ each year to share with attorneys, construction companies, neighborhood associations or high management positions. Major transportation corporations may even contribute to certain candidates in politics. Money is power in this city and makes no mistake about it, money does go to money. If you are given hundreds of millions of dollars for free, is it not right to reciprocate with financial support for the same people responsible for giving you that money? This scenario is not isolated in New York. It is the way much of American politics works and shamefully so. This is the system at work.
However, the system does not work for us. The yellow taxi industry gets no grants of million$ or billion$, instead we have gotten political excuses for years. Not for long! The excuses will end shortly. It is time to seriously discuss the true statistical information of our industry with the powers that be, in order to promote our next rate of fare increase. That is exactly what the Committee for Taxi Safety has been doing.
When the independent study about our industry is finally completed and then presented to City Hall, a decision of how much will be made. Hear that? Not when, but how much! My friend Vincent Sapone of LOMTO is right, "There is a light at the end of the tunnel."
The Committee for Taxi Safety is also asking for a mechanism to insure that we never have to wait eight years for an increase again. All financial data should be reviewed every two years. Now that we know the financial information that is being asked for, we can supply it every two years.
also better to receive a four or six percent increase in the fare every
two years than to receive a twenty-three percent increase every eight
years especially when taxicabs must be retired from service every three
and five years respectively. (If you do not understand, I mean to say
that since 1996, a new vehicle must be purchased before an increase is
granted to help pay for the increased expense of a more expensive new