City Hall Dispatch: The taxi drivers' take

(Credit: Urbanite)

Photo courtesy of NY Times

During today's marathon (as in 2 cups of coffee, a pack of No-doz and a bottle of Jolt) congestion pricing hearing, we were surprised to find this woman, rabble rousing head of the Taxi Worker's Alliance, Bhairavi Desai, sitting demurely in the gallery, and even more surprised to find out that she was there to testify against the plan to relieve Manhattan of cars. After all, less cars=more room for taxis, right? And, don't less cars=more potential fares?

Ahh, but the fine print tells another story. All fares heading to or originating in the congestion zone will come with an automatic $1 surcharge, which Desai says will diminish hacks' tips.

"It's money coming out of driver's pockets," she told amNY. "After gas prices skyrocketed after Katrina, we were fighting for a 50-cent fuel surcharge and they denied it. Who has ever heard of increasing a tax on an service at the expense of workers? It's completely lost on us."

--- David Freedlander

Tags: taxi , manhattan , congestion pricing , city hall dispatch , transportation

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