Fare Hike Not Likely to Make Driving a Taxi Any Easier, More Lucrative

Photo: George Rose/Getty Images

Passengers can expect a fare increase for cab rides this year, possibly of up to 20 percent, if the Taxi and Limousine Commission gets their way at an upcoming public hearing, but it’s unclear whether drivers will actually make any more money. As examined in the New York Times today, shuttling around the loud, rude, vomiting, and lost masses is not the most pleasant profession, and it doesn’t pay especially well either. Describing his average nightly haul left one driver “sounding a bit resigned,” and for good reason:

He had made $141 in cash fares, plus another $150 from credit cards, for a total of $291. Not bad for 12 hours of work.

Then, he ticked off his losses. He had paid about $110 to the garage upfront, just to rent his cab. Drivers pay out-of-pocket for gasoline, and it cost $38 to fill up his tank. Another $15.50 went to the state, for a transit tax.

The grand total: about $127, or $10.58 an hour, which Mr. Faustino deemed his average wage.

Accounting for inflation, average driver wages are down 25 percent over the last six years, according to the Times. And if fares do indeed rise for the first time since 2006, it’s possible that the lease fees that drivers pay their garages will also go up, leaving the road warriors about where they started. (The medallions to own a cab go for, say, $1 million.)

The Bloomberg administration is reportedly working to keep garages from increasing their rates, but there’s no guarantee. For sympathetic, Marx-reading New Yorkers, that makes the likely forthcoming fare hike even worse — or at least they can couch their bitching in concerns about the working class.

Will Taxi Drivers Profit From a Fare Hike?