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NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission To Vote On Fare Hike, Lease Freeze

New York City Taxis (file / credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

New York City Taxis (file / credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – New Yorkers may soon pay a little more for taking a cab: The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission held a public hearing on Monday to discuss a proposal that includes a possible increase in taxi fares.

The proposed plan would increase the cost of the average ride by 17 percent. The base fare of $2.50 would not increase but the mileage charge would.  The flat-rate fee between Manhattan and John F. Kennedy International Airport would jump from $45 to $52. The surcharge to travel to or from Newark Liberty International Airport would rise from $15 to $17.50.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks on the story:

Proposed surcharges would include one for rush-hour traffic and another for nighttime travel.

On Thursday, Cabbies from across the city gathered at City Hall to show their support for the proposal, 1010 Wins’ Stan Brooks reported.

“This is a tremendous boost to cab drivers,” said Bill Lindauer, a retired cab driver. “They need this tremendously.”

The last taxi fare hike was in 2005.

Most agreed on the need for a fare increase in Monday’s public hearing, but disagreement arose over another issue: The proposal, if passed, would not increase the leasing fee paid by drivers.

Michael Woloz of the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade said giving drivers a break would burden fleet owners, who already have a lot of expenses.

“This fare increase goes just to drivers and the taxi garages that employ thousands of people get nothing,” Woloz said.

Victor Salizar, a cab driver and an activist for the New York Taxi Workers Alliance disagrees. He says the cab drivers already pay so much for leases and the laws need to be adjusted so that the drivers are not “exploited.”

“They want to continue to drain as much money out as they can from us,” Salizar said.

Bhairavi Desai, the Executive Director of The New York Taxi Workers Alliance echoed this cry, saying “if the lease is not capped and the loopholes are not fixed, we’ll continue the downward spiral into poverty, despite a fare raise. We need the TLC Board to pass all the proposals before them.”

Currently, cab drivers do not have health insurance plans, but with this provision, 6 cents from each trip would go toward health care and disability coverage.

A vote on the proposal is scheduled for Thursday.