April 21, 2024

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Ride-sharing in New York City, taxi riders brace for tax hike

Ride-sharing in New York City, taxi riders brace for tax hike

subway

We're about to take you for a ride – twice!

Taxi riders in the Big Apple have been quietly paying congestion rate fees for years — and now another fee is about to be imposed when a full pricing plan goes into effect this summer, The Post has learned.

Double cash grabs can add more than $5 to many trips — and drivers fear their income is about to collapse.

A double cash grab can add more than $5 to many trips. Reuters

“The one they put in place years ago is hurting business. It's going to get worse now,” said Destiny Maduka, a father of two who has led a hack operation for 22 years.

“This what they are adding will kill us.”

Since 2019, each yellow cab trip has been charged a congestion fee of $2.50 – while trips using app-based car services such as Uber and Lyft have been charged a congestion fee of $2.75.

Fees apply to any non-shared trip starting, ending or traveling through Manhattan south of 96th Street.

Now, the latest phase of a controversial new congestion pricing plan will impose an additional fee of $1.25 on traditional taxis and $2.50 on app-based rides.

This could result in a total fee of up to $5.25 for a ride that starts in or passes through the affected parts of Manhattan.

The final phase of congestion pricing is scheduled to begin by mid-June, which will officially impose a $15, hotly contested increase on all cars entering Manhattan below 60th Street during daylight hours.

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Taxis won't have to pay the $15 fee, but riders will bill for the smaller, double-barrel ride fee for any trip that crosses designated zones, an MTA spokesperson told The Post Friday.

An Uber car in New York City with a sign on its window, anticipating congestion pricing
The final phase of congestion pricing is scheduled to begin by mid-June, which will result in a $15 increase in tolls for all cars entering Manhattan below 60th Street during daylight hours. Christopher Sadowski

Drivers say the multiple layers of fees will be difficult for an industry that is still finding its footing post-pandemic.

Maduka said the added pressure makes him want to “escape New York.”

“New York is no longer suitable for people like us,” he said, laughing.

Another taxi driver, Abdul Isaiah, said he was still feeling the effects of the 2019 surcharge.

“I lost clients and never got them back. Even today, clients talk about it because they feel it too,” the married father of four told the newspaper.

“I heard they were going to implement another law and we are still complaining about the last one. I didn’t think that was true at the time, and I don’t think it is now.”

Most Uber drivers contacted by The Post on Friday declined to comment, but one who did not want to share his name said any increased pressure on their bottom lines would be difficult to bear.

“We already don't make a lot of money overall, and it's going to be bad for Uber drivers. We're going to have fewer riders,” the driver said.

Despite the fees, ride-sharing giant Uber has unapologetically backed the Big Apple's congestion charging proposal.

“Congestion that slows travel times and frustrates passengers and drivers is bad for business. Indeed, our largest cities are those where strong public transit options are the backbone of daily commuting. Company blog post last year.

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The MTA on Friday told the newspaper that current taxi fares have raised a large sum of money for the authority, which has been spent to develop mass transit.

The fees raised nearly $1.5 billion from 2019 to 2023, and went toward the MTA's subway business plan and outbound train service, they said.

The New York State Legislature signed the congestion pricing plan into law in 2019, stipulating that the program must raise $1 billion annually to help fund improvements to the city's public transit system to help it better serve its nearly 4 million daily riders.

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