The Birmingham City Council has approved an increase in taxi rates to offset rising fuel costs. The decision, which passed unanimously after a public hearing yielded no speakers, will add a $1 surcharge to every taxicab ride in the city through at least the end of the year. It’s the first time taxicab rates have been raised in a decade.
Cab fare will still be $3 for the first quarter-mile of a trip, but the ordinance will raise the rate from 25 cents to 32 cents for every subsequent eighth of a mile. The ordinance will also increase cabs’ waiting fee from $24 per hour to $30 per hour.
The legislation was requested by zTrip, the company formerly known as Yellowcab, in response to a steady increase in gas prices this year. According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Birmingham is currently $4.56, compared to $2.78 a year ago.
“Those are costs that are borne by the drivers, so they have requested that we revisit the ordinance that sets the taxicab fare and have specifically requested consideration of a temporary surcharge to address the increased fuel costs,” District 5 Councilor Darrell O’Quinn said last week.
O’Quinn, who heads the council’s transportation committee, said that the committee will meet in November to determine whether to extend the surcharge beyond Dec. 31, when it is set to expire.