Ramos to NYC: Taxi’s are a ripoff
File under: Political Posturing
Yesterday, Hoboken Councilman (and Assemblyman) Ruben Ramos sent a letter to the Commissioner of New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, citing “unfair” rates taxi drivers are charging customers for “short” trips across the Hudson. (see complete letter after the jump.)
What are your thoughts about this?
For one thing, it’s NYC law to allow taxi drivers to negotiate and “agree” to a flat fare to destinations outside of NYC limits. Call it “free market” if you must. Apparently, the rates that drivers are charging are what they deem to be fair, or in-line with what they’d stand to lose by leaving the city.
§2-35 Trips Beyond the City.
(a) For a trip beyond the limits of the City of New York, except for the counties of Westchester or Nassau, or the facilities of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey at Newark Airport, the following shall be applicable:
(1) the driver shall not start the trip until agreement has been made on a flat rate, as set forth in Owner Rule §1-73;
§1-73 Trips Beyond the City.
(a) For a trip beyond the limits of the City of New York, except for the Counties of Westchester or Nassau, or the facilities of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey at Newark Airport, the fare shall be a flat rate. (A flat rate is a definite amount fixed between the driver and the passenger at the start of the trip. For example, “$20” is a flat rate. “Double the meter” is not a flat rate and is not the proper fare.)
This is where the problem begins, and becomes complicated. It’s not our job to dictate what other city governments put into law, especially across borders. They handle their jurisdiction quite well as it is. You don’t see other cities writing letters to Hoboken telling us how much to charge for a trip to Jersey City, or Weehawken, etc. That too, is “negotiated.”
Once we start meddling with cross-border rules and regulations, you’re going to have a giant mess on your hands because other cities will want their piece of the action too.
One way to overcome that might be to have a giant “Tri-State TLC” or something along those lines, which would be an entire separate “governing body” with rules, rates, etc. for a much larger area. Of course, that’d be yet another layer of government to muck up. You ready for a third, fourth, fifth job, Ruben??
I think that lowering the fare would have minimal impact reducing drunk driving or fueling the economy… I think it’s just a political stunt to give Ramos press airtime.
How would you handle this situation? How would you execute putting this into law? Is there a simple solution?
Read Ruben’s letter to the TLC after the jump.
March 27, 2008
Mr. Matthew W. Daus
New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission
40 Rector Street
New York, NY 10006
I write hoping to work in conjunction with your office, to address an issue that affects a multitude of residents who reside in the New York City metro area. Specifically, my office has received numerous calls regarding exorbitant fees for taxi rides from Manhattan to New Jersey municipalities that rest immediately outside of both the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, such as Hoboken, Union City, Weehawken and Jersey City.
In many instances, New York City taxi drivers charge $50 for rides that are only a few short miles and minutes away from destinations within very close proximity to the New Jersey side of the tunnels. Clearly, these fees surpass what a metered ride would cost.
Moreover, the fee for a ride to New Jersey far exceeds the cost for a longer trip within the five boroughs of New York City. Therefore, it is evident that riders to New Jersey are charged rates that are not commensurate with that of riders who stay in New York City, creating an unfair circumstance.
Furthermore, a reduction in taxi fare for riders from New York City to New Jersey makes rides more accessible, offering many benefits such as increased commerce in New York City, reduced driving while intoxicated and raised revenue through toll collection to New Jersey. Also, drivers would not lose money, as additional riders would utilize this service, thereby allowing for more income.
In closing, please note that this issue is one of importance to my constituents, as we continue to share an economy with New York City.
I look forward to your response. Thank you for your attention to this mater.
Ruben J. Ramos, Jr.
Cc: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, The City of New York