Service of Congestion Pricing that is Giving Yellow Taxis the Flu

February 7th, 2019

Categories: Decisions, Subway, Taxes, Taxi, Transportation, Uncategorized

Photo: amny.com

I tucked this horrible decision on the part of New York Governor Cuomo into an early December post, “Service of I Love New York… But Don’t Push It.”

It’s too important a move–a giant $2.50 surcharge on every ride in yellow taxis in Midtown Manhattan–big enough to fell an essential NYC industry.

A judge postponed the measure from January 1, which was the deadline when I originally wrote about the debilitating tax. It started last weekend. I’m appalled. As a result, I forecast the end of an industry that served me, my parents and grandparents so well. According to Google, it was the first Yellow Cabs that in mid-1880 knocked “less predictable” competitors out of the ring in the big apple.

Yellow cab owners have invested so much in their businesses, and NYC’s citizens whose cabs touch a toe below 96th Street and are slapped with the surcharge, don’t deserve this. Tossing a tax on the vulnerable to solve your financial difficulties in an allied but otherwise unrelated sector isn’t the way to go.

I’d written on December 6, 2018:

Photo: fineartamerica.com

The January 1, 2019 $2.50 congestion pricing fee will help destroy the already limping yellow cab industry and hurt citizens of modest or microscopic means who rely on traditional cabs. Many can’t manage busses or subways, can’t afford limos or don’t have smartphones to hire car services like Uber or Lyft. The fee impacts “any yellow cab, e-hail or other for-hire vehicle trips that start, pass through or end in a designated ‘congestion zone’ below 96th Street in Manhattan,” Vincent Barone wrote in amny.com.

What’s the destination of the some $400 million the tax man anticipates collecting? According to Barone, it will help the Metropolitan Transit Authority [MTA]  which is “financially strapped.”

Services like Lyft and Uber are charged a $2.75 fee but because they can fiddle with their basic price which yellow taxis can’t, they could make rides cheaper than traditional cabs—another stab to the financial heart of their competitor.

Barone reported: “‘The fact that it will cost $5.80 to step into a taxi cab now is going to be devastating for the taxi industry,’ TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi said after a City Council oversight hearing on the surcharges, referencing the existing fees on taxi trips. ‘The other sectors … have more flexibility. They have to add $2.75 on but they’re not bound to a metered fare, so they can reduce the price of the trip so that the passenger doesn’t feel the effect of the $2.75.’”

I took [too] many yellow cabs last weekend between my current and future apartment filled with TJ Maxx bags holding my plants, food and other items movers don’t carry. My suitcase was embarrassingly heavy. Each driver was helpful, grateful and cheerful. Only one pointed out that drivers don’t benefit from a penny of the surcharge yet their volume will be impacted. “People don’t take us for short trips like they did before–look at the meter: $9 for a few blocks.”

Do you think that there is a chance for a rollback to a more reasonable surcharge such as 50 cents instead of $2.50? What impactful action might we take to put the brakes on this poorly conceived method of paying for the city’s subway system? Why does this city care more about bicyclists than about pedestrians or taxi drivers?

Photo: amny.com

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2 Responses to “Service of Congestion Pricing that is Giving Yellow Taxis the Flu”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    The Guv just can’t go around imposing taxes at will. He moved with approval of the State House and Senate, before signing RSS20 into law. Enough protests to one’s state assemblyman and senator may help make them see the potential hurt before it happens. A strong letter to the Governor, protesting this measure may also help. Present cab costs fall beyond the means of most.

    The cab industry will undoubtedly survive, but at cost. It’s time City citizens protest, not only by mail, but by using other means of transportation, in hopes of triggering a greater reaction from the Cab Industry. Someone wrote a popular book: “A Nation of Sheep.” It’s time that people show the author to be mistaken…..So much for promised protection of the Middle Class….

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    If we boycott yellow cabs life will be even worse for owners and drivers.

    Wealthy people have cars and drivers and use limo services. Yellow cabs are often used in emergencies by middle class people without access to their own cars.

    I like the idea of sharing disgust on the amount of the surcharge with state house and senate reps. I would also like to think of even more impactful measures. My mind is all about moving right now but when that’s under control I want to think of ways to help. I cringe at the huge mortgages to pay for medallions once worth 1 $million and now less than $200,000 thanks to Uber, Lyft etc.

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