New York City Considering Adding 900 Cabs to Taxi Fleet Over Next 3 Years
The number of licensed taxis in New York City may soon increase by an additional 900 cabs, according to the Washington Times newspaper. Currently, there are 12,187 licensed taxi cabs in operation in New York City.
The proposal, which has the backing of Mayor Bloomberg, the City Council, and the state of New York, is all but a foregone conclusion, especially since they believe that adding the 900 cabs to the fleet over the next three years could bring in about $190 million in revenue from the sale of taxi licenses. Officials also favor a fare increase of anywhere between 25 to 33 percent, plus a possible $1 surcharge for taxi rides during the morning and evening rush hours, according to the Washington Times article. The base fare of a cab ride is $2; each additional one-fifth of a mile costs 30 cents. There is a 50-cent surcharge between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. Taxi fares in New York City have not increased since 1996.
The proposal to expand the fleet grew out of an impact study ordered by the city to determine how it would affect traffic and the environment. The study concluded that traffic congestion resulting from additional cabs would be offset by an adjustment in the traffic-light sequences. The study also concluded that there would be no significant effect on air quality. If the plan is approved, the first wave of new taxis could be on the streets by June.
Not all taxi drivers are in favor of the idea. Some believe more cabs means more competition and less pay. According to the article, in recent years city residents have complained about an apparent scarcity of cabs. In the rush hour between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. when there is a shift change, taxis with "Off Duty" signs cruise the streets, often picking up passengers only if they are going in the direction where the cabby is headed.