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Bloomberg Backs Taxi Fare Hike

By Jill Colvin | May 24, 2012 3:14pm
Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed a taxi fare hike Thursday.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed a taxi fare hike Thursday.
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Flickr/Flickr/Alex E. Proimos

NEW YORK — Yellow cabs may soon cost a lot more green.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed a proposal Thursday to boost taxi fares by as much as 20 percent — a step that would mark the first increase since 2006. The mayor's go-ahead comes a day after Taxi and Limousine Commission Chairman David Yassky also gave the plan a thumbs-up.

"I think it is a good idea. We have kept taxi rates stable for the last six years and we have to adjust for inflation…Nobody likes to see costs of anything go up. But the truth of the matter is, things are more expensive," Bloomberg said.

"Gas prices have gone up something like 45 percent. This comes right out of the taxi driver's pocket."

Even with an increase, the city’s cab rates would still be less than many other major cities, Bloomberg said.

The TLC is considering two proposals — one pitched by taxi fleet owners and one by drivers. The owners are pushing for increases of 19 percent, and the drivers want to boost rates by 16 percent.

Yassky, who testified before the City Council Wednesday, said he thought the range was fair, given rising costs.

"I think the case for a fare increase is quite strong," Yassky said, noting that the average driver's take-home pay is now about 15 percent less per shift than it was in 2006, making it difficult for drivers to support families.

"It’s not a well-paid job to begin with."

Gas prices in New York City have risen 45 percent since 2006, jumping to an average $3.90 a gallon from $2.70 a gallon, records show.

During the same period, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's subway fare has increased by 12.5 percent, according to the TLC.

Yellow cab rates — approximately $2.50 upon entry and 40 cents for each additional one-fifth mile or one minute in slow traffic — have not been increased since 2006.

The TLC will hold a public hearing on the proposed increase May 31 at 11 a.m., at 33 Beaver St., 19th floor.

Written comments will be accepted through May 30 by email at tlcrules@tlc.nyc.gov and by mail at Taxi and Limousine Commission, 33 Beaver St., 22nd floor, New York, N.Y. 10004.

A final vote could take place as early as July.