Do You Think a 70% Taxi Fare Increase is Fair?

San Francisco Taxi Fare IncreaseTake our poll right now.

San Francisco, which already has one of the very worst taxi systems in the country, is now seriously considering becoming the most expensive with a massive hike in taxi fares.

The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency is hearing plans that could raise the fares of some rides by more than 70%. And if you're picked up from home during rush hour, your fare could nearly double.

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Some of the fare increases include a $5 surcharge on picking up passengers at home during rush hours and a full $1 dollar per mile increase in the meter charge, making San Francisco’s taxi fares the highest of any big city in the nation.

Do you think these fare increases are fair? Let us know – take the Reset Poll right now and weigh in with your opinion.

San Francisco Taxi Fare Increase Debate

San Francisco taxi drivers have been pushing hard for a fare increase – and who can blame them considering that taxi fares have not gone up since 2003, while gas prices have skyrocketed and the “gate” drivers pay to rent their cabs have risen sharply.
A spokesman for the drivers pointed out in the SF Examiner that inflation has been 19% since the last fare increase in 2003. And back then gas prices were just about $2 per gallon (drivers are responsible for paying all of their own gas).

At Reset, we agree that drivers need to make a living wage. But raising fares by more than 70% seems a little stiff, particularly when weighed against the inflation factor of 19%. And particularly considering that the MTA does not seem to have seriously considered other options.

Time for Gov 2.0 to Reinvent the Wheel

Reset is dedicated to exploring new solutions – rather than just fighting the same old San Francisco political battles. Perhaps no battle can be described as “same old” more accurately than what seems like the non-stop taxi fare battle.

Of course drivers should be paid fairly. That is in everyone’s interest. First – we own it to workers in this highly regulated industry to make sure they are paid a living wage with health benefits. And also don’t forget – you get what you pay for. If we want safe, qualified drivers who know the city – we should be willing to pay for that.

But why is the only solution presented to make San Franciscans pay dramatically more?

Can’t the big brains down at the MTA start thinking about how to make sure drivers get what they deserve – without gouging customers? There are other solutions that along with a more modest fee increase could give the drivers what they need without such massive fare hikes.

Gas is up – but a switch to hybrids paid for by the companies that just raised their “gate” charge would lower the burden on drivers. Shouldn’t the companies themselves pay for this – not just the drivers and in turn not us?

We need to pay drivers more – but working to help drivers get more business during a shift would accomplish the same, or even perhaps more, than a fare increase. A city-wide dispatch system that uses the technology that many San Franciscans now have on their cell phones to intelligently match drivers with passengers would mean more effective use of the taxi fleet and more money in the pockets of drivers. To be fair, the MTA is experimenting with this. But we need more than their baby steps. We need the agency to finally take the full leap into the future.

If we want to make sure the regulated fleet drivers are fully compensated – then we need to do more to take the many unregulated cabs off the street.

These are just a few ideas to make our taxi fleet more efficient and effective and fair – to both drivers and passengers.

We know this is controversial.

But Gov 2.0 should be about more than safe press releases; it should be about solving the tough problems like this.

What do you think? Log-in and take our poll right now.

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Bernadette's picture

Place the Fare Increase Blame SFMTA, Not on Taxi Drivers!

I agree with Dean783 that the problem of the proposed fare increase is not the taxi drivers' fault, and I also agree with Ben that taxi drivers have to act in their best self-interest (e.g. push their passengers to pay in cash despite its inconvenience to the passengers) in order to get around these unfair rules and regulations (e.g. credit card charges).

While we must deal with an issue in which passengers must pay for the services they want, it is a lot better knowing that if there is a fare increase it was done after all other alternatives have been exhausted.

Why are we paying taxes and fees to support the needs of taxi regulators when there are many unregulated taxis taking away business from those who are regulated?

Why are we getting the trickle down of the drivers' gas expenses when the cab companies could invest in more fuel-efficient cars (that can also gain more business from environment-conscious San Franciscans)?

Let's solve all the money-draining problems before we put more money into the mix!

Patrick Stelmach's picture

Most Expensive Cab Fares in the Country

In our struggling economy, how can SF expect to compete in the tourism industry if we have the most expensive cabs in America? Tourists typically don't know how to use the public transportation system and (I would think) tend to use cabs more often. SFMTA needs to cut waste, cut overtime and cut salaries of the top fat cat bureaucats, i.e. Nat Ford. 

dean783's picture

Increase Meter Rates for San Francisco Drivers

The SFMTA will continue to milk the drivers and passengers of money unless the public understands the issues and supports the drivers in their efforts. The drivers need the increase because we don't make a lot of money driving a cab and are for the city of San Francisco intention call us Independent contractors. There are existing charges the drivers pay that are no longer necessary by the cab companies. The cab drivers have asked for the removal of these charges but the SFMTA said it is hard to take back something they have given to the cab companies. If the charges I speak of were removed from the cab companies we might not need a drastic increase. The drivers are not the problem here folks. The greed of the SFMTA and the Cab Companies is overwhelming. But yet I see comments on here that indicate it is the drivers fault. The driver has no control over our rising costs. Maybe some frustration should be directed to the appropriate places like the SFMTA and the cab companies..

dean783's picture

Increase Meter Rates for San Francisco Drivers

I love this poll, it really should be should san francisco taxi drivers be a part of the SFMTA?

The SFMTA has made 9 million and some change from the San Francisco taxi industry. The SFMTA gives really nothing back to the industry, but yet keeps taking to help pay for their broken system. Our gates which are rents of the cars keep going up as well, so the cab companies and the SFMTA continues to take more money from us, and when that happens nobody cares.

If the city and the public conitunes to say it is ok that we dont have a taxi commission and we need to be under the SFMTA, this will continue to happen where the drivers ask for more money so we can pay increased costs to the cab comapnies and the SFMTA. The people who are making out like bandits are not the cab drivers, we simply need to feed our families and pay our bills! It is a simple solution, get the taxi drivers away from the SFMTA.


Ben Shore's picture

Credit card charge, too

Something else that happened recently was the credit card charge that's been implemented. It isn't passed onto the passenger, but to the driver. While drivers aren't going so far as to stop accepting credit cards, several that I have come in tact with are very nearly insisting on cash or setting a limit at which they'll accept a credit card. This is unfair to drivers just as it is unfair to passengers who don't have cash or prefer using plastic. Sometimes it's easy to ignore problems when they happen to others (cab drivers) but when they happen to you (cash only) then they become a bigger issue.

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137