Surcharges for taxis and for-hire cars to start Sat., Feb. 2

An app-hail driver in Soho outside the Soho Grand hotel last year. File photo

BY GABE HERMAN | Starting Sat., Feb. 2, city taxis and for-hire vehicles, like Uber and Lyft, will be required to impose an extra charge on passengers for Manhattan rides that go below 96th St., following a judge’s decision to lift a temporary ban.

Starting 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 2, yellow cabs operating anywhere below 96th St. will charge an extra $2.50, while for-profit vehicles will charge $2.75 more, or an additional 75 cents per passenger for shared rides.

The extra fees, expected to raise between $300 million and $400 million annually, were approved in order to provide funds for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

New York State enacted the surcharge law on April 12, 2018. Several groups and individuals from the taxi industry sued in December to block the fees. They argued the surcharge would hurt business, violate equal-rights protections by treating their vehicles differently, and that only the city has power to enact such rules.

A taxi driver in the East Village outside the mosque at First Ave. and E. 11th St. File photo

The surcharge had been set to go into effect Jan. 1. But a temporary restraining order was imposed in December. However, after oral arguments in January, State Supreme Court Judge Lynn Kotler ruled that the fees could be imposed — though she did not dismiss the case, which is scheduled to be back in court on Feb. 21.

The judge wrote that those suing “have not demonstrated irreparable injury.”

“The congestion surcharge is to pass directly to consumers,” she added, “and to the extent that petitioners contend that their business will be affected by the same, such an effect does not mandate the continuation of a further prohibition upon the State’s ability to collect on the tax.”

After the decision, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance expressed relief that the case is still alive.

“We feel triumphant that the state’s motion to dismiss was denied,” the alliance said, in a statement, “and it gives us hope that ultimately the state will do the right thing and spare drivers the poverty and crisis that would result from this congestion fee.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday on WNYC that he did not view the new fees as hurting drivers, but acknowledged a complaint from yellow taxis that showing the surcharge on taxis’ meters would drive away business.

“I think we have to see if there’s any way to address that issue, so it does not in any way disincentivize riders,” de Blasio said.

“But it’s going to be the same whether you’re in a yellow cab or you’re in a for-hire vehicle,” he added. “You’re paying the surcharge either way, so I don’t think it changes market conditions in a meaningful way.”

4 Responses to Surcharges for taxis and for-hire cars to start Sat., Feb. 2

  1. King Cuomo has pushed this congestion pricing tax on almost all Manhattanites. I can’t afford this. The real problem is the over supply of uber, lyft vehicles that they issued licenses for without any thought to how it would affect traffic. Now I have to subsidize these ride sharing corporations.

    Remember Cuomo for this.

  2. KING COUMO WILL BE SORRY HE DID THIS
    MANY CAB DRIVERS QUIT TODAY ECONOMY WILL DEF GO DOWN SO WILL THE CITY
    THEY DID NOT ADJUST ANY FARES ALL ABOVE 96 TH STREET IS SAME ADDED FEE AS BELOW
    ITS A SCAM ITS A SHAM , SHAME ON THOSE WHO KEEP DESTROYING QUALITY OF LIFE FOR EVERYONE

  3. "MANY CAB DRIVERS QUIT TODAY" — isn't that what we want to have happen? Now we need a bunch of Uber and Lyft drivers to stop. Now is the best time ever to find a new line of work.

    We need fewer cars on lower Manhattan roads. If you can afford a car in the City, then you can afford this… or sell the car. We'll all like you more then.

    Unfortunately, hitting the pocketbook is the only thing that seems to work, so be happy this is all that changed for now, because more change$ will have to be made in the future. This is just a start, so get out your wallet or get out of the car.

  4. We live in nyc

    We are 75 years old and have walking limitations.

    We take taxis everywhere.

    Sometimes 3-6 times a day.

    These charges should not be imposed on Nyc residents.

    Mark

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