Mount Vernon taxis seek to increase minimum fares by $1

They attended Wednesday evening’s meeting of the city’s Taxicab Commission to ask for the minimum fare to be increased by $1.

News 12 Staff

Oct 20, 2022, 10:52 AM

Updated 576 days ago

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Taxi companies in Mount Vernon are asking city officials to allow them to increase their minimum cab fare so they can stay afloat.
They say if their minimum fares aren't increased, they and their employers are going to suffer.
They attended Wednesday evening’s meeting of the city’s Taxicab Commission to ask for the minimum fare to be increased by $1.
They tell News 12 that it could keep some businesses from folding. That entire extra $1 would go to the driver.
The manager at Reliable Taxi -- one of the three main taxi services in town -- says pre-pandemic, they had about 75 drivers. Now they're down to 30 drivers because it's just not worth it for many of them. He says that in three years, they have gone from about 2,200 rides per day down to about 1,400 per day. 
They pay for their own gas, licenses, car maintenance and rate-cards, which is like a medallion.
People who drive for rideshare services don't have those burdens and, depending on the routes and times, their rides are cheaper.
Drivers are asking the Taxicab Commission to send a recommendation to the City Council to pass the increase. It would then be up to the council to act.
During Wednesday night's meeting, one Taxicab Commission member said they need more taxi drivers to come to the meetings and explain their situations.
He said that would help the commission in its analysis, and improve their chances of getting the increase passed.
The manager of Reliable Taxi said he's going to get them there, but many drivers have lost hope of getting any relief, and their absence there is a sign of low morale.
Cab drivers say they know this is just a temporary fix to keep them afloat for now. Those in the industry say if they are going to survive, they'll have to eventually change the way they do business. "I would say by 2030 every taxi company is going to have to adapt to change their business model to pretty similar to what ride share is and that's going to be the only way to survive," says Adrian Esquilin, cab driver.


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