Monday, June 2, 2008

Taxi drivers push for fare increase

Move would make rate among highest in nation

The drivers, newly organized by the United Steelworkers union, have asked Boston for the first increase in their per-mile fare in six years - a proposal that would make a city cab ride one of the most expensive in the nation. If approved by the Police Department, which regulates taxi fares, the cost of a 4-mile ride would go from $11.55 to $16.70. (That's laughably ridiculous).

The proposal, which the city has agreed to review at a public hearing, would increase the per-mile rate by 50 percent and the starting fare from $2.25 to $2.75.

The drivers, many of them recent immigrants, say the request is a matter of basic economics. They work 12- to 16-hour shifts, five or six days a week. They pay $77 a day to lease a medallion. They shell out $60 for gas every shift. And their battered Crown Victorias - when they are not in the repair shop - gulp a gallon of gas every 10 miles. (Why don't they use different vehicles then? Like New York City?)