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New York City Taxi Fares May Increase by 20%, Commission Says

New York City Taxi Fares May Increase by 20%, Commission Says
The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which represents 15,000 drivers, has been petitioning the commission for the past year to increase fares by at least 15 percent, citing the high price of gasoline and leases. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg

New York City cab riders may see fares rise by as much as 20 percent, the biggest increase in eight years, under a proposal before the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

“The fare hasn’t changed since 2006, so it is reasonable for taxi drivers and fleet owners to put this on the table,” David S. Yassky, commissioner of the agency, said in an e-mailed statement. “We will consider their petitions over the next couple of months.”

The commission will hear the proposal May 31.

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which represents 15,000 drivers, has been petitioning the commission for the past year to increase fares by at least 15 percent, citing the high price of gasoline and leases.

“Drivers work long and grueling hours and they shouldn’t be earning today less than they did six years ago,” Bhairavi Desai, the alliance’s executive director, said by telephone. “It’s just a question of fairness.”

Drivers received their last comprehensive raise, of 26 percent, in 2004, when the average gallon of gasoline in the New York City area cost $1.78. By last month, that price had more than doubled to $4.09, according to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

The weekly lease that taxi drivers pay to fleet owners has increased to about $900 from about $600 in 2004, Desai said.

The average cost of an individual tax medallion rose in April to $703,000 from $701,000 a month earlier, according to the commission. A medallion, the aluminum plate found on the hood of all cabs, gives owners the right to operate a taxi.

In 2009, the state Legislature added a 50-cent surcharge to taxi rides to help fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the city’s subways, buses and commuter railroads. In 2006, riders saw the price rise for each minute a cab is stopped or in traffic.

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