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August 02, 2017

Philly taxicabs to increase fares Sept. 1 as Uber, Lyft loom

As Uber and Lyft continue to loom over cabbies in Philadelphia and other cities, the Philadelphia Parking Authority Board will attempt to lessen the cabbies' lost income by increasing the cab meter rate from 23 to 25 cents starting Sept. 1.

Ronald Blount, president of the Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania, told Newsworks the changes are made in the hopes of not “hurting the public or chasing people away,” as cab drivers are averaging three missed fares a day as they share the road with Uber and Lyft.

The 25 cents will be charged every tenth of a mile; Blount said a ride from City Hall to a Phillies game, for example, would cost an extra 30 to 35 cents total.

Besides being smartphone accessible, though, often lower rates have also been a driving factor in bringing people to apps like Uber and Lyft over their taxi counterparts. Though the move could be helpful for taxicab drivers looking to regain financial losses, some officials worry hiking the fare could feed into the problems customers find with taking cabs.

When talks about fare increases first began in April, testimonies were mixed at best.

“The foot is on our neck,” James Walker, of Freedom Taxi, told CBS3 at the time. “If we raise the price, we’re going to lose customers. If we don’t raise the price, we’re going to lose drivers. They don’t know what to do.” 

The growth of Uber and Lyft in Philadelphia has influenced other transportation in the city, with reports that SEPTA is revisiting some bus routes that have lost riders as more take to ride-sharing when they miss a bus or SEPTA is running late.

Lyft has also increased its footprint with new offers in Philadelphia the last few months, claiming late last year that its footprint has helped the Philadelphia economy.