The Ithaca Common Council and the Ithaca Dispatch taxi service raised taxi cab prices last July. The increase in cab fares is due to the rise in gas prices this year.
Taxi fares were raised by at least 25 cents, resulting in charges of $4.85 during the day and $5.85 at night. The exact cost of a ride depends on the time of day, location and number of passengers.
John Kadar, owner of Ithaca Dispatch, worked with Ithaca Common Council members to plan the rise in the taxi cab prices.
“Effective as of this past July, the daytime and nighttime prices for a taxi ride were raised by one quarter per ride for each taxi zone,” Kadar said.
There was an additional 50-cent surcharge between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. before the ordinance was passed.
“Now, the nighttime surcharge schedule has been changed, beginning at 8 p.m. instead of midnight,” Kadar said. At 8 p.m., there will now be a 50-cent surcharge added.
Cab rides will charge one extra dollar per passenger for trips taken after 8 p.m. If one person rides after 8 p.m., there is no surcharge. Each additional person will be charged one extra dollar to ride.
These increases are effective until Dec. 31, 2004.
“The increase is only temporary,” Kadar said. “The emergency increase in cab fares was due to the rapid increase in the gas prices recently. We requested the fare to go up, but if the gas prices go down beyond a certain level, we will re-settle the fares at the end of the year,” Kadar explained.
The rise in cab fares affects every taxi company in Ithaca. The rates are set by the Common Council by the city of Ithaca.
“Ithaca Dispatch controls three taxi services: University Taxi, Cayuga Taxi and Yellow Cab of Ithaca. Other taxi companies will also be affected by the Common Council’s decision to raise the fares,” said Kadar.
Common Council member Michael Taylor (D-4th Ward) said, “The biggest change occurred in the premium charge for evening rides because of the skyrocketing gas prices.”
“Our theory is that people who take cabs during the day are more likely to be engaged in rides of necessity. The nighttime riders are people who are headed to the movies, the mall or to a party,” Taylor said.
“If we increased the fares for nighttime passengers using cabs for recreational use, it would be a more fair and just system,” said Taylor.
Taylor is concerned that nighttime riders may choose not to take a ride if the prices become a problem. He expressed concern specifically for female riders who may need to get home safely.
“I feel there are certain circumstances where we don’t want to discourage cab use. If you are out at night by yourself and you need to get back to your dorm, hopefully the increase in the cab fares will not compromise your own personal safety,” said Taylor.
Some students have been directly affected by the increase in fares already. Elana Fisher ’07 has been taking less taxi cab rides into Collegetown since the increase in cab fares.
“We are college students living on a fixed budget. If the cab prices keep going up, I’ll just have to catch a ride from the Wings Over Ithaca delivery guy,” Fisher said. “Hopefully the prices go down before winter comes around because walking from my house to Collegetown can be very long and tiresome.”
“I guess this just shows the law of supply and demand. If they can get people to pay the price, why not raise it?” questioned Alon Mass ’08. “If it gets us home safe, it’s worth the extra money.”
“Right now, I’d rather just walk home and not have to spend the money,” Mass said. “I might try the taxis when it gets colder out.”
Archived article by Allison Markowitz
Sun Staff Writer