The Proposed Fare Hike.

For the past seven years, cab drivers in New York City haven’t received a raise (aka a fare increase).  If anything, they have began losing money in that time period.  From gas prices going up over a $1/gallon in that time frame, to the introduction of credit card machines taking away 5% of each fare, to the MTA tax which was a “fare hike” that only benefitted the MTA, cab drivers have been getting the short end of the stick for quite some time.  Owner-drivers like myself feel the pinch, but it’s nowhere near as bad for me as it is for the guys who work at the garages, hustling their asses off for 12 hours at a time and not knowing how much money they will pocket in a given night.  This industry is volatile, as you’re always one accident away from being out of work.  Combine that with no health insurance for drivers since the taxi union broke up years ago and you can see why cabbies are raving mad.

Just to give an example of how much fares have increased for the MTA in that same 7 year period:
Single Ride Tickets in 2005: $2.  Currently: $2.50
7-Day Metrocard in 2005: $24.  Currently: $29
Express Bus in 2005: $4.  Currently: $5.50
30-Day Metrocard in 2005: $76.  Currently: $104

Yet, they’re crying broke.  LMFAOOOOO.

Anyhow, the proposed rules that cab drivers want to see are a 17% fare increase, a healthcare system, and the elimination of the 5% credit card fee.  Now, the every day person sees 17% and immediately thinks that that is a significant jump.  But as you can see from my MTA comparisons, 17% really isn’t that much.  If this goes through, I’m not sure how they’ll go about it, but assuming they implement the hike on each time the meter clicks, that will be about 7 cents extra (from 40 cents to 47 cents).  Or, if added onto the starting price when you enter the cab, an extra 50 cents.  It isn’t a lot, but in an industry where every cent counts, cab drivers like myself will take it and run with it.  The people most opposed to it?  The garages and medallion brokers.  They don’t mind the fare hike so much, they are raving mad that they won’t be getting that piece of the pie.  Cabbies will have a better chance of paying off their leases (even on slower days), hence garages & brokers won’t be able to take as much advantage on those unable to make payments (ie- raping them with interest).

In addition to the fare increase, an additional 6 cents will be added to every fare and will be collected by cab drivers towards a industry-wide health care system.  Cabbies as of now have to purchase their own health care- and approximately 52% of drivers do not have it, nor a pension.  Yes there is workers compensation that I pay in 3 payments per year, but that’s meager change especially if you’re unable to work anymore.  The human body isn’t made to remain seated, much less for 12 hour periods 6-7 days a week.  Back, neck, leg and kidney pain result from this and takes a significant toll on their bodies.  You can tell the guys that have been working for decades all have developed that dangerous pot belly as a result.  I have vision & dental insurance as of now (from Healthplex), but not health care.

This last bit though is gonna be interesting.  I have mentioned time and time again about the 5% taken from the credit card machines each time someone pays with CC.  Over a 12-hour shift, that could be up to $10 that a driver will never see.  If the 5% gets eliminated, this will be replaced with garages charging $9 extra per shift but 100% of the fares being paid out to the driver (minus the 50 cent MTA tax).  Cash will be the same as credit.  This comes out as a wash for the garages & the drivers that work for them.  Meanwhile for the owner-driver, this is great because we’ll keep everything now.  For the customer, this will mean that yall won’t get yelled at as much for using credit cards, or drivers forcing you to go to an ATM machine to pay cash, or drivers claiming that their machine isn’t working etc.  For the $1 tip nation, your $1 tips won’t piss me off anymore so $1 tip away.  I still won’t give you acknowledgement if you’re a penny-pincher, but I can now laugh that your attempts to give Verifone some of my hard-earned cash will be futile.

The vote goes down tomorrow.  If it passes (which all 3 should), then these rules will go into effect sometime in September.  And so on.


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