Getting in and around New York City is going to cost you more. If bus, subway, bridge and tunnel fare increases were not enough, now there’s a proposed NYC taxi cab fare increase that the Taxi and Limousine Commission is considering.
The fare increase is not just negligible. The proposed increase is by a whopping 19%. Fleet owners are the ones behind the proposal, saying it is necessary to keep up with rising maintenance costs and to pay drivers more.
Meanwhile, cab drivers seem to be unanimous that an increase in their pay is being used as an excuse to pass the proposed fare hike. They believe they will see very little increase in their salary and lose much more money in tips due to the added cost to clients.
Passengers already believe fares are too high. Not only do they not want to see an increase, a suggested decrease in fare would be in order. Owners of one cab have already expressed their concern over loss of business if such an increase would go through. So, taxi cab drivers, owners of a cab and passengers don’t want to see an increase. Who wants it?
If the proposed hike is approved by the Taxi and Limousine Commission, the real winners will be fleet owners. They can work 24 hours, 7 days a week. The taxi king of New York, Gene Freidman, owns a fleet of 850 cabs, and is a strong proponent of increase.
“I’m not going to put it all on the taxi drivers, the hardworking taxi drivers who need an increase,” Freidman said. “The fleet owners also need an increase to divert some of the cost, increasing costs, and the improvements we’ve made in the last couple of years.”
Maybe he also needs the increase to buy more cars and control more of the market. His revenues have exploded from $2.5 million in 1996 with a fleet of 60 cabs to $120 million in 2008.
The NYC taxi cab industry makeup is about to change. Fleet owners can bear some temporary financial set-backs long enough for individual cab owners to lose their shirts. One year ago, passengers got an increase of $0.50 to help the MTA. In the end, passengers must decide if they are willing to bear the proposed 19% increase… or any at all.