Taxi Fares to go up at SJ airport

October 28, 2008 6:58:44 PM PDT
Gas prices may be down, but taxi drivers in San Jose still want more money for trips to and from Mineta San Jose Airport. The city council will vote Tuesday on fare hikes for taxi drivers who asked for them when pump prices were sky high.

The San Jose City Council just approved a $15 minimum fare from the airport and tonight, they're considering increasing wages for some airport employees by 50 percent.

As soon as you get into a cab at San Jose international airport you will owe $15 even of you live less than a mile away. San Jose travelers aren't happy.

"If we're a mile away and they're going to charge us $15 dollars even to get into the cab, that's crazy," said traveler Pat Schlimmer.

"That sounds tragic. I don't like the idea, that's why we're having friends pick us up," said traveler Jim Hornibrook.

Taxi drivers at the airport say they have essentially been subsidizing fliers who live near the airport. They say their fuel costs barely make up for a short trip and they say even though fuel costs have dropped, the economy's slowdown has also affected fares.

"It was very expensive, it's coming down now. But it's not really going to affect the other people. Just those people who are not willing to pay for the airport parking which is expensive," said taxi driver Kirpal Basati.

The San Jose City Council approved the hike on a nine to one vote. The increase takes effect immediately, but cabs will have to recalibrate meters before charging the new fare.

Tonight, the City Council is looking at giving more than 500 other airport workers who make $8 an hour a 50 percent pay hike. Airport workers now paid by the city of San Jose already fall under city's living wage of $12.83 an hour.

The council will consider imposing that minimum wage on most airport contractors.

"A company that works with the city of San Jose that does $20,000 a year in business falls under the living wage ordinance," said San Jose-Mineta Airport spokesperson Rich Dressler.

Manuel Garcia is an airport baggage handler with a newborn at home.

"It will help me sure, money for my baby too," said Garcia.

"How old is your baby?" asked Tomas Roman.

"Eight months old," said Garcia.

The increase is expected to pass. Proponents say it will help hundreds of families in these lean times.

If the City Council approves the living wage, it will take effect January 1st, 2009.


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