Taxi trips in soon-to-be tolled areas of Manhattan below 60th Street have fallen roughly 50% from pre-pandemic levels, a study released in February by New York’s Independent Budget Office found. By contrast, trips by companies like Uber and Lyft have recovered to nearly 90% of pre-coronavirus levels, the study added.

“While both industries still have ridership below pre-pandemic levels, yellow taxi ridership has been notably slower to recover,” noted the study, “Fare Play: Considerations for Exempting Yellow Taxis From a Congestion Pricing Surcharge.”.

Yellow taxis, green cabs and for-hire vehicles will face a $1.25 surcharge for trips under proposals that will be voted on by MTA officials this spring. Uber, Lyft and other high-volume for-hire services will face a $2.50 surcharge.

“Advocates for the taxi industry have argued an exemption is necessary to support the still struggling industry, but it is unclear how sensitive riders will be to a $1.25 surcharge,” the study states. Eliminating the congestion fee for yellow taxis could cost the MTA roughly $35 million, assuming a 1% drop in demand, the study found.

Independent Budget Office officials found two scenarios likely if yellow taxis are exempted from tolls: either the MTA will make up this shortfall and hit its $1 billion yearly congestion pricing toll target or the revenue will be raised by increasing surcharges others pay.

Source: Patch NYC

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