New York City: Congestion surcharge will be ‘devastating’ for cab industry, TLC commissioner says

The measure will add surcharges to any yellow cab, e-hail or other for-hire vehicle trips that start, pass through or end in a designated “congestion zone” below 96th Street in Manhattan beginning Jan. 1. The state estimates it will generate about $400 million a year for the financially strapped MTA.

But the mechanism of the surcharge has left cabbies and the city crying foul. Yellow cabs will have to add $2.50 to the meter per trip while companies like Uber and Lyft will have to collect $2.75 per trip. But e-hails will have greater options to mask the surcharge by tweaking trip costs and the surcharge in those vehicles will be reduced to 75 cents for any shared trip request — even if the driver doesn’t end up picking up more than one passenger.

“The fact that it will cost $5.80 to step into a taxi cab now is going to be devastating for the taxi industry,” TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi said after a City Council oversight hearing on the surcharges, referencing the existing fees on taxi trips. “The other sectors … have more flexibility. They have to add $2.75 on but they’re not bound to a metered fare, so they can reduce the price of the trip so that the passenger doesn’t feel the effect of the $2.75.”