Cabbies Ask City For Fare Increase


Amid all the debates about CTA funding and fare increases, we haven’t been paying all that much attention to taxi prices. Many will remember that, on April 28, cab companies were allowed to add a $1 surcharge to offset the high costs of gas, but taxi drivers say that isn’t enough. Not only have gas prices risen 75 cents (or more) a gallon since the surcharge was added, but the surcharge has had some unexpected consequences. Prateek Sampat, spokesman for the United Taxi Drivers Community Council, claims that drivers’ tips have decreased as a result of the added $1 charge. Perhaps the prominently displayed sign has irritated riders? Also, Sampat says, the price of everything has increased in the last year and cab drivers cannot make ends meet.

Currently, the “flag pull” (entry into the cab) for Chicago is $2.25 and travel costs $1.80/mile. To compare, in New York the flag pull costs $2.50 and travel costs $2.00/mile. In addition, New York has several extra fees, including a “Night Surcharge” of 50 cents and a “Peak Hour” surcharge of $1, during rush hour. Los Angeles is even higher, at $2.85 for a flag pull and $2.70/mile.

The proposed Chicago fare increase of 16% would put our costs slightly above New York and slightly below Los Angeles. Which is more preferable: an across-the-board increase or an additional surcharge? We like the upfront nature of the surcharge, but also prefer our cab fares to be based on the distance we travel. [Trib]

Photo by p2wy

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