This month new cab fares went into effect in New York. Fares will rise an estimated 17 percent under a new cost structure approved by the Taxi and Limousine Commission this summer.
For each fifth of a mile, or each minute in traffic, the fare goes up 50 cents, instead of 40, in the new system. It's the first across-the-board increase in about eight years, and cabbies say it's essential to keep up with rising fuel costs, but New Yorkers still aren't happy. One Christopher Keating, 42, told Reuters:
"A 17 percent hike all at once is a little hard to swallow," Keating said. "They may deserve a raise, but it seems like it would make more sense in smaller increments, year to year."
C. Keating might check out a new report from the Swiss bank UBS for some global perspective. On a list of cab fares in 72 cities around the world, New York fares are in the middle of the pack. UBS calculates the price of a typical 3-mile cab ride in the city at $8.50.
That's just above Dubai ($8.17) and just below Istanbul ($8.94). It's also considerably less than the other three American cities on the list:
Los Angeles ($25.06).
It's even less than the global average, which UBS puts at roughly $10.
Angelinos have a lot more reason to be sore. Their fare ranks third overall — losing out only to the Swiss cities at the top of the list:
These are all places that top the twenty-dollar mark.
A few others come pretty close:
As a general rule, if you're in Europe, you're paying a lot for taxis.
At the other end of the spectrum is Cairo, where 3 miles in a cab costs you $1.49.
Kuala Lumpur ($2.44)
These cities round out the bottom five.
Jakarta ($2.93) are the others below three bucks.
New Yorkers like can at least rest assured that the recent fare hike will go to struggling cab drivers and not fleet owners.
While the fare increased 17 percent, the rate of leasing cabs from medallion owners seems to have stayed about the same, (but may go up slightly soon).
As taxi expert Bruce Schaller pointed out many years back, fare increases do raise industry revenue, but not quite as much as the percentage fare increase itself. That means if cities raise lease rates as much as fares — well, they may be asking for another fare-hike debate sooner than their residents would like.
Different cities, but same problems.