Citing High Gas Prices, Cabbies Ask for More Money - NBC New York

Citing High Gas Prices, Cabbies Ask for More Money



    A rise in gas prices is fueling a possible fare hike in New York taxi cabs. (Published Wednesday, April 27, 2011)

    Your cab ride could get even more expensive if taxi workers get their way.

    The Taxi Workers Alliance, which represents New York City cab drivers, says gas prices and other cost of living increases are making it too costly for drivers. The organization wants a 15 percent fare hike from the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

    The last significant rate hike was in 2004 when fares went up 26 percent. 

    Most of that increase went directly into the pockets of drivers, but taxi workers say that is still not enough to offset the cost of living increases.

    "The rate hike in 2004 assumed taxi leases were about $600. Today they are paying closer to $852 a week," said Bhairavi Desai, of the Taxi Workers Alliance. "In 2004, gas cost about $1.80 per gallon; today it is upwards of $4. Our rates are fixed but our expenses keep going up."

    Cab driver Khandokar Islamrobi says he works six days a week to make ends meet.  Paying upwards of $50 to fill up the tank is not making it easier.

    "We keep the city running, every day, 24 hours a day," said Islamrobi. "If we can't afford it how can we be there for you?  We want to be there, we want to work but you have to help us a little bit."

    What would a 15 percent increase mean for passengers? 

    A trip from Times Square to Park Slope now costs about $20.70. With the increase, it would cost $23.80. A ride from Chelsea to LaGuardia Airport costs approximately $25.90.  After the increase, it would cost about $30.

    Doug Barrett of Hoboken, N.J., said, "It's rather exorbitant but everything's getting more expensive. My ferry from Hoboken now is $10 each way."

    "I'm not surprised but am I happy about it? Absolutely not," said Amaury Larancunc.

    "I don't take that many cabs but I think everyone deserves a fair wage," said Katie Smith of Greenwich Village.

    New York Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky said once he receives the proposal, he will consider it on its merits.  After that, the proposal would need to go through several layers of approval.