San Jose raises taxi fares

August 5, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hailing a taxi in the South Bay will soon cost more than it does in New York City. Tuesday night the San Jose City Council approved sweeping changes to cab fares. Those changes will take effect in just a matter of days.

As soon as their meters can be re-calibrated, the rate increases will kick in, but they aren't slight and customers will feel them, immediately.

Taxi drivers in San Jose, are struggling. They say rising fuel costs and the economy are making life hard.

"I don't even think about going on vacation, saving or buying any other things," said Iqbal Durrani, a taxi driver.

These days Durrani spends about $1,400 a month on gas for his taxi. He, and dozens of other cab drivers are asking the San Jose City Council for help.

"It's time to make sure you are receiving the wages you need to, to be able to live in this valley," said Nora Campos, a city councilmember.

The council moved quickly. In a matter of days, the flag drop rate, which is what you're charged as soon as you get into a cab, will go from $2.00 to $3.50. The price per mile will rise from $2 to $3. And once gas prices reach $4.50 in San Jose, a fifty cent fuel surcharge will be added.

The 25 percent increase would make San Jose one of the most expensive taxi cities in the country.

"For a typical five-mile-trip in San Jose, we were the only ones with an identified rate over $20," said Jim Ortbal, from the San Jose Department of Transportation.

By comparison, the flag drop rate in San Francisco is $3.10, and in New York City, it's $2.50.

"We just came from Boston and their rates are half of what they are here," said Mark Page, a San Jose resident.

In 75 days, there could be another fee. Drivers asked the council to create a $15 minimum flat fee charge for anyone leaving the airport and going a maximum of four miles.

"By implementing at least a $15 surcharge, they know they'll get that, to cover their expenses maybe put a few dollars in their pocket," said Dave Logan, from the Yellow Cab Company.

It's an additional fee customers aren't supporting.

"Seems a little steep," said Pat Kelly from Aptos.

"San Jose is what, 2-3 miles from the airport and it's going to charge that much more just to go to downtown San Jose from here. It's just another reason to not come to this city," said Mark Page, from San Jose.

The reason the council is holding off on the flat rate charge is because they want to talk to area businesses and customers and ask them what they think of the fee.


Load Comments