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Taxi Fare Hike, This Time It's For Real

By Rachelle Bowden in News on Mar 4, 2005 5:28PM

As Chicagoist has been posting on for almost a year, there's been a taxi fare hike in the works. Heard it over and over, right? But this time it's actually happening. Due to rising gasoline prices and increasing operating expenses, fares are going to change as follows:

  Old Rate New Rate
Initial Charge $1.90 $2.25
Per Mile $1.60 $1.80
Second Passenger $0.50 $1.00
Additional Passenger (3+) $0.50 $0.50

Fares haven't increased for about 5 years so even though we don't really want to pay more, it's probably about time. The increases are part of some service reforms expected to be introduced by Mayor Daley next week. And just in time because drivers have been threatened to stop answering radio calls for a week starting on March 20.

CabIn exchange for the fare hikes, the city said it'd crack down on dirty, junky cabs, drivers who are crazy/rude, who talk on their cell phones, and drivers who don't know their way around the city. They're talking about adding and extra week of training before a taxicab medallion is issued and also adding GPS to the cabs so they can track them. The city also wants to suspend drives for 3-5 days if they receive 3 or more complaints over a 1-year period.

Chicagoist is less resistant to the fare hike if it means the service is going to be upgraded, but things may not be as they seem and the announced changes may not solve all of our problems. This is what reporters seemed to have missed today:

  • A taxi fare hike does not benefit the cab associations, drivers pay a daily cab rental fee and all fares goes to the drivers

  • Chicago cab drivers make on average, half of what NYC drivers make

  • The legislation does not deal with advertising on taxis, removing or changing the driver shields in cabs, increasing radio calls in neighborhoods, medallion fees paid by drivers to cab owners

Also, the largest cab associations, Yellow, Wolley, Checker, American-United, and Chicago Carriage, have been making low margins for years, leading to lots of changes in ownership. Chicago Carriage was created two years ago when Simon Garber, the operator of Moscow’s largest cab company, decided to move into Chicago. And Yellow Taxi Association was also sold in January, and has new leadership.

So, while this seems to be a step in the right direction, we're sure there will still be lots of issues that will still need to be ironed out.

Image via CNN