New York Cabbies Fare Badly as Gas Prices Soar New York City's cab drivers want to charge passengers a small additional fee to cover the rising price of fuel even though regulators have rejected such efforts in the past. Cities such as Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Miami have either recently allowed cabbies to begin levying fuel surcharges or are considering allowing them.

In New York City, which has the nation's largest taxi fleet at 13,237 vehicles, fuel surcharges have long been a touchy issue. The Taxi and Limousine Commission balked at demands from drivers in 2008 for an additional fee. Some drivers even demonstrated in 2008 in front of the commission's offices. Cabbies are asking for the fee today to offset the rapidly rising cost of gas. New York has not raised its cab fares since 2004, and has not approved a fuel surcharge in recent memory.

"It is hurting a lot," says Javid Tariq, co-founder of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. "Our incomes are getting squeezed."

Sergio Rodriguez of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers agrees, telling DailyFinance: "I think that it's something that should be studied .... We have a board meeting Thursday and I am sure it's going to come up." A typical New York City driver earns between $150 and $200 on a good day, and probably spends about $240 to $280 a week on fuel, he says.

A spokesman for the TLC, Allan J. Fromberg, says a fuel surcharge is not under consideration because the industry has not requested it. In previous years, the extra fee was unwarranted because a "certain amount of flexibility" was built into the fare, he said. Similar sentiments were echoed by officials in San Francisco and Boston.

"We have not [considered a surcharge] and there are no immediate plans to do so, at this point," wrote Paul Rose, spokesman for the San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Agency, in an email.

Dedrick Stephens, Cleveland's Licenses and Assessments Commissioner, said in a statement to DailyFinance that the city will continue to monitor how gas prices perform. There is currently no surcharge in the city. Regulators in Nevada. who oversee cabs in Las Vegas, are mulling the idea as are officials in Charlestown, S.C., according to media reports.

Expect Gas Prices to Go Even Higher


Earlier this month, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) projected further increases in the retail price of unleaded gasoline because it did not reflect the recent gains in the price of oil. The EIA expects prices to average $3.56 per gallon in 2011, 77 cents per gallon higher than 2010 and about 40 cents above its earlier estimates. The higher prices are forcing the taxi industry and regulators to strike a balance between protecting drivers from financial hardship and preventing fares from rising so fast that they drive away customers and add to traffic congestion.

"That's why we rely on the drivers to help us make the call," says Jim Ney, who oversees the regulation of about 1,600 taxis for the Philadelphia Parking Authority, which will discuss fuel surcharges at a public meeting next month.

One Phoenix cabbie told TV station KTAR that his fuel costs were up 15% to 20%, and the only way he could make up the difference was to work 14 hour days. Officials from the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures, which regulates taxis in the state, could not be reached for comment.

Drivers in cities where additional levies have been approved have hardly hit the jackpot. Cabbies in Miami were allowed to add an additional $1 to fares starting this week to cover the rising gas costs, according to the Miami-Dade Consumer Services Department. The surcharge was approved because gas prices have remained above $3.50 a gallon for three straight weeks, according to EIA data. Washington Mayor Vincent Gray signed an executive order over the weekend allowing a $1 surcharge until at least July. Chicago officials approved a $1 surcharge on cab fares in January, up from 50 cents.

It's not a lot, but for cabbies trying to make ends meet, every additional dollar helps.

*Story was updated to clarify details about gas surcharges in New York.

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paulcb498

I own a cab company in Phoenix AZ (http://www.paulstaxi.com ) and can provide a bit of information regarding the AZ Department of Weights and Measures based upon my dealings with them. Neither they, nor the various cities, nor the AZ State government regulate the types of vehicles operated as taxis nor the rates the cabs charge. the rules out here are pretty simple: You must carry a minimum insurance policy; you must post your rates, and company phone numbers; and your meter must be accurate. That's it.
Some companies out here choose to run hybrids for the increased gasoline mileage, others stick with the Crown Victoria for numerous reasons. There are many other costs to consider as well as fuel costs. for example, a Toyota Prius (purchased used and turned into a taxi) will set a cab owner back $16,500, while a decent Crown Victoria will only cost about $6000-$7000. You can purchase a lot of gasoline for $10k. Further, the Vicky is a lot easier and less expensive to repair than the Prius. And the Vickys are safer too.
However, those who chose to use the Victoria are indeed suffering. I have noticed an increase in fuel costs of $300 per month. And I am reluctant to raise prices as my competitors have not does so yet. It is a delicate balancing act, however, I am glad I have the freedom in this town to set my own rates, and not have to petition a taxi commission to make my business decisions. NYC would be wise to change its policies regarding setting rates as well.

April 04 2011 at 9:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
eeverettm

Hope and Change- Isn't that what we wanted. Are we happy now?

April 03 2011 at 10:05 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
visconti24

Why does New York continue to use such gas guzzlers as taxis? Ford Crown Victorias with V8 motors in stop and go traffic are incredible wasters of oil. New Yorkers want to burn oil to their hearts content and expect oil producing countries to subsidize their wastefulness? Start by getting rid of those nasty big cars and replacing them with more economical ones. Ford makes smaller vehicles that are comparably spacious inside and use about half the gas.

April 03 2011 at 6:09 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
BILL

Based on a average of what the Cabbie says he makes per day minus fuel costs..... if he works just 5 days he makes about 2400.00 a month which is well above minimum wage they could be making flipping burgers, buying or renting uniforms, transportation to get to work, and to put up with insult... I don't fell sorry for them...... sad to say

April 02 2011 at 3:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gsandersjr

Here's your hope and change.

April 02 2011 at 2:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
madddddddddddddd

NY,,,,,,,,,,,,WHAT A RAT HOLE,,,,,,,,,,,,,THE CABBIES,,HAVE TO PAY FOR THE

MAYORS ERRORS IN RULES................AS A FORMER CABBIE,I SAY,,,,,,,,,,,BRO,,,,,

U NEED TO STRIKE FOR A WEEK OR 2,,,,,,,

April 02 2011 at 12:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
danielisticall

POOR MISSINFORMED FAUX FOX FOOLS ___OBAMA GAVE__NOTHING__ TO BRAZIL AND HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT
This claim stems from a "preliminary commitment" made back on April 14 by the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States__. The bank intends to loan up to $2 billion to finance exports to the Brazilian oil company Petróleo Brasileiro S.A., known as Petrobras,__ over the next several years.
The e-mail is false on two counts.____
The message falsely says the decision was due to an "executive order" by the president. No presidential order was required. Furthermore, none of President Obama’s appointees had joined the Ex-Im board at the time of the vote, which was unanimous, and bipartisan. The Ex-Im Bank states: "In fact, at the time the Bank’s Board consisted of three Republicans and two Democrats, all of whom were appointed by George W. Bush."_____
The message falsely claims that "we have absolutely no gain" from the loan. In fact, the loan is being made specifically to finance purchase by Petrobras of U.S.-made oilfield equipment and services. The mission of the Ex-Im Bank is to encourage exports by making such loans.
NOTICE GEORGE SORROS IS NOT EVEN MENTIONED YOU FALSE INFORMATION FOOL
The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is the official export credit agency of the United States federal government. It was established in 1934 by an executive order, and made an independent agency in the Executive branch by Congress in 1945, for the purposes of financing and insuring foreign purchases of United States goods for customers unable or unwilling to accept credit risk. The mission of the Bank is to create and sustain U.S. jobs by financing sales of U.S. exports to international buyers.____________WANNA TELL ME ABOUT CHINA DRILING OFF CUBA???
 

April 01 2011 at 9:56 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to danielisticall's comment
beverlyamy1

get a life,man.

April 03 2011 at 10:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
danielisticall

George H W Bush placed a offshore drilling ban in 1990,,then George W bush lifted it July 2008 ,, 19 months later B P has the biggest oil spill/explosion in the history of the country,killing 11 people________________________George W. Bush in July 2008 lifted a 1990 executive order by George H. W. Bush banning offshore drilling, while at the same time calling for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In less than two years time B P manadged to have the worst oil spill in the history of this country killing 11 people,, President Barack Obama is for limited offshore drilling as part of an extensive energy independence overhaul,,,On March 31, 2010, President Obama announced that he was opening new areas in U.S. coastal waters to offshore drilling for gas and oil
_____________ Offshore drilling has continued________ uninterrupted_______ in offshore Texas and Louisiana. ______In 2006, an 8,300,000-acre (33,600 km2) area in the Gulf of Mexico known as lease 181 was opened for exploration. The existing moratorium on leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf expires in 2012, and the debate is on whether or not to extend it_________________________DRILLING FOR OIL IN THIS COUNTRY HAS NEVER STOPED AT ANY TIME IN HISTORY,,,,,TURN OFF FIX NEWS

April 01 2011 at 9:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
danielisticall

Today, the United States uses 20.7 million barrels of oil per day. Its net imports number about 12.4 million barrels, or 60%.
Wind water and the sun have been powering the world since the begining of time,,oil has been around a little over a hundred years and just a passing FAD
Right now the United states is the only industrial nation that is NOT building a hydro electrical dam for power,, China, Canada, and brazil are the top hydro users. China now has 16 under construction and the United states has ZERO, the ONLY way we can fight back against BIG OIL is to use another product. Every dollar we spend on hydro, solar or wind power is a dollar taken away from big oil, and the only real competition they face,________________________
The United States currently has over 2000 hydroelectric power plants which supply ... Dedicated hydroelectric projects are often built to provide the substantial ..... Paraguay produces 100% of its electricity from hydroelectric dams, ...

April 01 2011 at 9:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GaryNPS

One rushhour with all of NYC's drivers calling in sick should do it.

March 31 2011 at 4:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply