City proposing taxi fare increase

It’s already expensive, and it could soon cost you more to catch a taxi on Oahu.

The City is considering raising taxi meter fares.

Finding a taxi in Honolulu is pretty easy, especially at the airport.

All these taxis are waiting for a fare.

“Normally drivers have to wait at the airport between two to four hours.  It’s not easy you have to drive long hours to put decent food on the table,” said taxi driver Abraham Martin.

But Abraham and other taxi drivers on Oahu could be getting a pay raise.

“It would help if we have a little increase,” said Abraham Martin.

Currently, metered taxis charge a base rate of $3.10.  The City’s proposal is to raise that rate to $3.50.

And by a nickel for each additional 1/8th of a mile to $0.45.

And currently, passengers pay $0.50 for each piece of luggage, and the proposal is to raise that fee by a dime.

Mark and Karolyn Burch of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, caught a taxi from the airport to their hotel in Waikiki.

“We paid $35 plus tip so $40.”

If the rate increase is approved, passengers would pay about $4.35 more to get to Waikiki from the airport.

“We’d probably pay it.  I mean coming to Hawaii is a luxury for us anyway.”

In comparison, New York City taxi fares start at $2.50 plus $0.50 for each additional 1/5th of a mile.

In San Francisco, taxis start at $3.50 plus $0.55 for each 1/5th of a mile.

And in Las Vegas, taxis start at $3.30, but only cost a quarter for each additional 1/8th of a mile.

“It’s cheaper than renting a car so for us we just sit on our butts on the beach and we don’t need a rental car so we pay the taxi coming and going.”

It’s been about five years since the City last increased the maximum rate a taxi driver can charge.

“We’re supposed to have an increase every five years,” said Abraham Martin.

Abraham is hoping it’ll go through, especially with gas prices as high as they are these days.

“To me, that it’s a very very good idea,” said Abraham Martin.

If you’d like to voice your opinion on the proposed fare increase, the City is holding a public hearing on this on Wednesday, May 15th at 9am at the Motor Vehicle, Licensing and Permits Division office in Chinatown.  Call 733-2540 for more information, or for a copy of the proposed changes.

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