Prepare to pay more. Jumping in a taxi in NYC is now going to cost more before the driver even starts driving. Today was the first day of the new 50-cent taxi surcharge, and many taxis don’t even have the latest decals to tip off passengers that they’re in for a more expensive ride.What does it mean?
The base fare hasn’t changed, but it will now cost you $3 before the cabbie even steps on the gas.
The surcharge – a component of the MTA bailout passed earlier this year – is expected to generate tens of millions annually for the cash-strapped agency.
Most New Yorkers are unhappy with the new surcharge, but CBS 2 found one person who didn’t mind – a subway rider.
“So be it, you know? I don’t have a problem with it,” Bronx resident Christopher Sanchez said. “As long as I’m taking the MTA, that’s fine.”
It’s taxi passengers, and drivers, who say things aren’t going their way. Cabbies say they’re concerned they’ll end up paying for the surcharge out of their own pocket.
“I’m not happy because it’s getting out of my pocket,” taxi driver Nizar Chahbani said. “Truly, customers are not paying for it – it’s getting out of my tips. They’re giving me the same tip.”
“This is absolutely outrageous – Albany had other alternatives that made more sense on the table,” Bhairavi Desai, of the Taxi Workers Alliance, said.
“We’re probably not going to offset it to help the cab drivers,” Manhattan resident Bruce Faulk said. “And giving anything to the MT – I mean, didn’t they just ‘find’ a billion dollars a while ago?”
Passengers’ distrust for the MTA is combining with taxi drivers’ sense of helplessness. It’s unlikely that either response will bring an immediate end to the surcharge MTA officials say is absolutely necessary.
Earlier this week, a computer glitch caused meters to accidentally add the surcharge before it went into effect. That meant about 4,000 cab riders paid too much.
If you were overcharged, you can call 3-1-1 about a refund.