The change rattling under couch cushions and stashed away in junk drawers may now have a new purpose.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission will be formally proposing to hike taxi cab fares sometime in the very near future.
The TLC will hold a public hearing on May 31 to discuss the rates and maximum lease rates for taxicabs, known as “lease caps,” which say how much taxi fleet owners can charge for the use of a taxicab license or medallion.
TLC President David Yassky said this proposal is due to a long list of factors that have been developing in the last couple of years.
“The fare hasn’t changed since 2006, so it is reasonable for taxi drivers and fleet owners to put this on the table,” Yassky said. “We will consider their petitions over the next couple of months.”
Higher gas rates and higher prices for owning a taxi driver medallion are two contributing factors, Yassky said.
Allan Fromberg, the spokesman for the TLC, said that the industry will ask for a hike of 16 to 20 percent to accommodate the increase in overhead costs for the company.
For riders this means a one-mile trip that would now cost $3.94 is going up to $4.73.
Meaning if a commuter took a cab one mile, twice a day they would spend an extra $35.60 per month.
Right now, fares go for $2.50 upon entry and $0.80 for every mile, not including tolls or weekend rates.
In 2009 a 50-cent surcharge to help fund mass transit was added, but the fare itself has not gone up since 2006.
The TLC seems to have a clear plan of how to convey to the public that this hike is a necessity.
In the meeting the TLC will be covering how much it costs to operate one of the cabs by discussing the purchase price of the car and, collision and repair costs including regular maintainence like oil changes.
The TLC also pointed out that the cost of having credit card processors in cabs is a contributing luxury that is adding up for the owners financially.
Reportedly, Mayor Bloomberg has supported the proposal.
The mayor discussed publicly on Monday that he believes the hike is a reasonable proposal because of the trickle effect of inflation in New York State.
The hike could come as soon as July, according to The New York Times.
Yassky’s other recent proposal created a new class of metered cabs to serve northern Manhattan and all other boroughs.
Fromberg said that this should not cause problems since, “Data proves that over 97 percent of all taxi pickups take place at the airports or in mid-Manhattan, so there’s no competition issue whatsoever.”
Cab companies will also be mandated to replace their cars with the new customized Nissan minivan chosen for the new taxi models by the city.
Both initiatives have been and continue to be challenged in court by industry groups.
The hearing will be held at the TLC offices in Manhattan on May 31 at 11 a.m. for the purpose of allowing the agency to hear testimony and receive evidence regarding both matters.
Persons wishing to testify at the hearing may attend by notifying the TLC in advance.