Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Taxi Surcharge To Boost M.T.A.?

The "service change" poster is brought to you from the Working Families Party but actual changes to the M.T.A.'s doomsday budget will hopefully come from our state legislature. Althought there is no consensus as of yet, what we do know is that Smith is having a rough time corralling his caucus and getting a feasible plan out the door, though there are plenty of thoughts on what to do. The latest idea circulating in Albany is bound to cull a "WTF?" not from straphangers or those that drive into the city everyday, but from the relatively few of us that depend on taxi service.

From The Gothamist:

Much of the deadlock surrounded the bridge tolls, which are now off the table according to Governor Paterson. Previously, Assembly Speaker Silver and Paterson supported a plan to raise subway/ bus fares by 8%, toll on East River and Harlem River Bridges and implement a payroll tax while Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith's proposal offers a 4% fare hike, no bridge tolls, and a smaller payroll tax (it's suggested that the Senate's math is "flawed" and that they would actually need to raise fares by 13% to make up the money).

Regarding the taxi charge, the Post says that it's just one of many ideas being considering (another is a fee on "anyone renting a car or parking in a garage"): "Sources were weary to say how seriously lawmakers are considering the taxi fee." We can't wait to hear what the taxi union says!

Tacking on 50 cents to Yellow Cabs will probably get the taxi drivers upset again, but as we saw a couple years ago their ability to organize effectively is worse than Paterson's ability to get a favorable poll rating. I personally don't mind the extra two quarters if I need a cab and neither should those people (generally wealthier than the average New Yorker) that take them regularly. It should be part of a comprehensive plan that will help the M.T.A. get out of debt but since the state Senate is currently in the business of quick fixes, this is probably as good as it gets.