Cab Fares Likely to Go Up

By Matt Baume
|  Monday, Jan 10, 2011  |  Updated 4:54 AM PDT
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Cab Fares Likely to Go Up

NBCPhiladelphia.com

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With Muni struggling, the bike network incomplete, parking evaporating, and now cab fares going up, it's getting to the point that you can't go anywhere at all in San Francisco anymore.

It's been nearly a decade since cab fares went up, according to the Examiner, and now drivers are clamoring for a raise from the current $2.25 a mile and 45 cents a minute. The last raise was in 2003. A bump was proposed and rejected in 2007.

The increase will help make up for mountain gas prices, which could go as high as $5 per gallon within two years.

It doesn't help that the city's cab policies are baffling and weird. For starters, cabbies have to rent their cars by the day, to the tune of $104. The also have to meet a one-time fee of a quarter million dollars for their license, which is called a "medallion."

The city artificially limits the number of cabs that can be on the street at any time. By creating scarcity, it's easier for cab drivers to find fares.

In the mean time, if you're planning on heading out on the town, you might want to pack an extra-thick wad of cash. Or buy some comfy walking shoes.

For its part, the SFMTA is receptive to cabbies' demands, and will probably debate the issue soon. In exchange for the raise, the agency might consider increasing the number of cabs on the street, so you don't have to wander aimlessly for hours in the hopes of finding one.

Politicians like incoming Supervisor Scott Wiener have expressed interest in streamlining the cab industry by creating a centralized dispatch. But no amount of streamlining can make a difference if there aren't enough vehicles on the street.

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