NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City taxi fares may rise in order to pay for an increase in the number of wheelchair-accessible cabs.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration will propose a 30 cent surcharge on all yellow taxi and green outer-borough cab rides.
That additional money will be allocated for drivers and taxi medallion owners to help them upgrade their cabs into ones that can accommodate wheelchairs.
Currently, only 231 cabs in the city are wheelchair accessible.
The city wants to boost that number to more than 7,500, as part of the terms of a legal settlement reached last year by accessibility advocates and the administration of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
With the $2.50 base fare, plus the 50 cent state surcharge, night and peak surcharges, and now a possible additional 30 cent surcharge for the wheelchair-accessible initiative, it could cost up to $4.30 before you even pull away from the curb, CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport reported.
Taxi riders and drivers are already weighing in on the proposal.
“I get it, I guess it’s for a good cause, but there already are taxis riding around that are wheelchair accessible,” one New Yorker told WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane.
“I think it would be good to accommodate people who need wheelchairs to get around the city more,” Harlem resident Skylar Sasson told Rapoport.
“You’re gonna charge people that are not using wheelchairs for the people that are using wheelchairs,” one taxi driver said. “All cabs should be wheelchair-accessible, you might as well have the whole fleet wheelchair accessible.”
“There is a lot of surcharges already, passengers complain about the surcharges,” another driver said.
“I don’t know why the new mayor wants to put the pressure on the taxi drivers. There is a thousand ways to make this money,” driver Rahim Rahmon said.
The de Blasio administration will hold a hearing on the surcharge next month. If it passes, it will go into effect next year.
In a statement, De Blasio called the proposal “a major step forward.”
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