The Depressing, Expensive Future of Taxi Prices

Taxi prices are going way up, for the first time in eight years.

checker2 The Depressing, Expensive Future of Taxi Prices It was only in March when one blog’s joyfully shouted the headline: Good News Taxi Riders! No Fare Hikes Planned For This Year. “Only” because, not three months later did Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky deem a request for a taxi fare hike from cabbies and cab-owners as “reasonable.”

And now, here we stand four months later, as a fare hike is approved. And not a small one, either.

Via the New York Times CityRoom Blog:

The Taxi and Limousine Commission voted on Thursday to raise taxi fares by an average of 17 percent, the first major increase in eight years. The new fares are expected to go into effect in September.

The rise in prices is a break for cab drivers, whose income has generally gone down with the rising price of gas (which they pay for) along with the declining value of the dollar. Fleet and cab owners are looking into their legal options to challenge the price hike. Meanwhile, riders—assuming those challenges are unsuccessful—are going to be indisputably hit where it hurts: In the wallet.

How hurt? Bloomberg food critic and The Price Hike blogger Ryan Sutton explains one of the harsher implications of a 17% increase, a ride between JFK Airport and Manhattan:

Taxi fares will rise by an average of 17 percent, while the set price of taking a cab from Manhattan to JFK will jump $7 to $52, the New York Times reports. That means the REAL COST of your airport ride will jump to $67 after tolls ($4.80) and optional tip ($10). Those paying cash might just hand over $70 and call it even (remember, all NYC cabs take plastic). Your best bet for a proper flight out of Kennedy is still the $13 LIRR + AirTrain fare or the $10 NYAS bus from Grand Central.

We’ve always been convinced the quickest—and most worry-free—way to get to JFK involves taking the E through Queens to the AirTrain at Jamaica Center: If everything’s working, an hour flat, maybe less, and it only costs $7.50 ($5 if you get a monthly MetroCard). Cab money is always best spent when you most need it: For those times when the buzz of incoherent drunkenness is on the line, the shelf-life of which a subway ride can kill instantaneously.

As opposed to paying a bunch for a cab, which only hits you the morning after you’ve done it. Which, to be fair, is about to become even more of a reason to just keep drinking.

Or walking. That, too.

fkamer@observer.com | @weareyourfek