Cab fares going up in San Francisco — but not as much as originally proposed 

Cab fares will be rising for San Francisco passengers, but the rate hikes are less than originally proposed and they could be coupled with increased taxi service during busy travel times.

Under a proposal approved Tuesday by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors, fares will increase by 50 cents per mile and 10 cents for time spent stuck in traffic. The starting rate for cabs is also set to go up 40 cents — from $3.10 to $3.50.

With the changes, a three-mile cab trip with three minutes of wait time will increase from $11.20 to $13.40, a 20 percent hike.

Originally, the SFMTA proposed a $5 fee for passengers getting picked up at their homes during peak times, as well as fuel surcharges that would increase fares by 50 cents a mile and an extra 10 cents for time spent in traffic. Those provisions were dropped, however.

Even with the omission of those surcharges, cab rates in San Francisco will still be some of the steepest in the nation. According to an SFMTA study, only Boston and San Diego will have a higher meter mileage rate than San Francisco, and San Jose is the only other city with as expensive a starting rate.

Because the proposal to increase the starting rate wasn’t made public until Tuesday, the SFMTA board cannot approve the initiative until its June 21 meeting under California’s open meeting laws. However, all five board members present said they would support the increase.

Also at the June 21 meeting, the board will hear a proposal to increase the number of taxi drivers during peak hours. SFMTA board member Malcolm Heinicke, a long-time advocate for increased peak-time service, said any fare increase for passengers should be paired with extra cabs during the weekend and other busy times of the week.

Christiane Hayashi, deputy director of cab services for the SFMTA, said the agency is still determining how many extra cabs could possibly be available during peak times. She said the fare increases would likely go into effect on Aug. 1.

Cab drivers have been pushing for a meter-rate increase in San Francisco for years. The last time rates were increased was 2003. Since then, drivers have dealt with rising fuel prices, increasing credit card fees and more expensive car-leasing rates.

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, who has made transportation a top priority of his office, released a statement Tuesday opposing the fare increase.


Taxi fares going up

Now Proposed
Starting rate $3.10 $3.50
In-home pickup None None
Mileage rate $2.25 per mile $2.75 per mile
Waiting rate 45 cents per minute 55 cents per minute
Fuel surcharge None None

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Will Reisman

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