I’ll go slow just in case anyone has problems following me on this story:
- San Francisco taxi cabs are already the most expensive per mile taxis in the country
- In 2002 they logged 1.2 million rides to SFO, in 2006 that number had dropped to 323,000 rides to the airport
- Cabbies blame BART’s extension to SFO and, somewhat illogically, an increase in the number of taxi permits issued, a whopping 50 additional cabs
- The Taxi Commission figures the best way to compensate taxi drivers is to increase the taxi rate, in essence impose a tax on taxi riders
Personally, I think it’s fairly implausible that 900,000 people a year are taking BART to the airport, if this were the case then BART wouldn’t be struggling to make the SFO/Milbrae extension work; it’s been plagued by low ridership since it opened. One thing I am seeing is that shuttles and hotel vans are taking up a lot of the riders that normally would have gone with taxis, not because it’s more convenient but because it’s cheaper.
SF taxis are very expensive, I took one from Market St. down 2nd St. maybe 10 blocks and it was $8. A ride to the airport is easily $25 and forget about it if you are going to the East Bay or down on the Peninsula, where a cab ride from the airport to my house is easily $50.
Having said all that, it’s fairly outrageous that taxi drivers are demanding a rate increase to compensate them, and not just to/from the airport but all over town. In essence the taxi drivers are demanding a tax be imposed on regular riders because they are no longer price competitive in one aspect of their business.