NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Seventeen percent — that’s how much more your next cab ride could cost you.
People for and against a proposed taxi fare hike faced off Monday at the final public hearing on the issue, CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported.
Outside the hearing, taxi cab drivers chanted “Together united, we’ll never be defeated!” in their support of the proposed fare increase. Inside, they testified about why they think it’s necessary.
“The idea that hard-working, working-class people are earning less than 25 percent today than what they earned six years ago is absolutely unacceptable,” one driver said.
1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports
“This raise is deservingly so,” another driver said.
“I don’t think 17 percent is enough,” a former driver added.
New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission is set to vote on the first taxi fare hike since 2006. The proposed increase would boost the cost of each cab ride by 17 percent. The average ride would go from a little less than $12 to around $14. That’s not a huge amount but it would mean more take-home pay for drivers.
“A taxi driver today is earning about $130 per 12-hour shift and that’s just not enough,” TLC Chairman David Yassky said.
There was plenty of opposition to the increase during the hearing and on the streets.
“With all due respect commissioner, I think what you did is create a poison pill,” said Ethan Gerber, a representative of the owners.
“It’s too expensive as it is,” one New Yorker said.
“Most likely I wouldn’t take a cab,” added Aaron Gooding of Queens Village.
“It’s not that expensive, but if it went up 17 percent forget about it,” added Kylen McCartney of the East Village.
WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman reports
However, there was also support for the cab drivers and their increase from people who would have to pay it.
“Their lives are in danger. They take risks. They should definitely get more money,” said Vivian Amari of Staten Island.
“I would pay it, if I knew it was going to them,” added Al Pascarella of Brooklyn.
Commissioners will vote on the taxi cab fare increase on Thursday. If it’s approved, passengers will start paying more per ride by September.
Thursday’s vote could also reduce some of the fees cab drivers have to pay. It will also determine if a fund will be set up to assist them with health care for the first time.
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