The cost of driving a yellow cab in New York would increase by around 23% under a new proposal by the Taxi and Limousine Commission.
It would be the first metered taxi fare hike in New York in 10 years and would raise the price of yellow cab rides to every corner of the city while putting more money in the pockets of struggling taxi drivers.
Officials aim to raise the base fare and surcharges for any ride from $3.30 to $4.50. Taxi drivers have since 2019 paid an additional $2.50 for rides that start or end in Manhattan below 96th Street, and officials said the fee won’t change.
Hikes would increase the surcharge for yellow cab rides that start 4-8 p.m. from $1 to $2.50; and for overnight rides from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., 50 cents to $1. Authorities are also aiming to raise the price charged to taxi drivers for every 1/5th of a mile they travel from 50 cents to 70 cents.
The proposal means the most expensive base price for a yellow cab ride — those during the evening rush hour that start or end in Manhattan — would rise from $6.80 to $9.50.
TLC officials are also aiming to increase the flat rate for taxi rides from Kennedy Airport to Manhattan by 25% from $52 to $65.
The agency will hold a public hearing on the changes on October 6. Officials have not yet set a date for the TLC board to vote on the new rates, which were proposed this week.
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“Our proposals to increase taxi fares and driver compensation will allow drivers to cover their increased expenses while continuing to provide mobility options in all five boroughs,” TLC Commissioner David Do said in a statement. a statement.
City officials estimate the deal would boost revenue by 29% for owners of yellow cab medallions, giving drivers the exclusive right to take over streets in the city’s busiest areas.
The TLC has also proposed raising the minimum wage for drivers working for Uber or Lyft, which taxi driver advocates hope will prevent email companies from further undermining the yellow cab market.
The minimum wage for e-hail drivers is based on a calculation that takes into account the average rate at which Uber and Lyft cars operate with a passenger in tow. Officials said the changes would raise the minimum payment for drivers who complete a 30-minute, 7.5-mile trip to about $28, about $3.50 more than current wage requirements.
“Overall, we think it’s a good balance,” said Bhairavi Desai, head of the Taxi Workers Alliance. “It won’t be much for the passenger, but for the drivers it will add up.”
The proposal comes as the city moves forward with a debt relief program that resets the debt of about 4,000 yellow cab medallion owners to $170,000 and caps their monthly payments at $1,234.
Thousands of medallion owners face loans of more than $500,000 after the value of yellow cab medallions fell from over $1 million to less than $200,000 between 2014 and 2019. A report released by the city council in 2020 revealed that the collapse of medallion values was caused. by predatory lenders and the rapid proliferation of Uber and Lyft.