Cabbies feeling pinch of rising gas prices

Once you put your key in the ignition, you are losing money. This is the consensus of many taxi drivers who are involved in the fight to raise fares.

Taxi drivers in Toronto are having a harder time making a living because of the rising gasoline prices and plan to bring this issue to the attention of City Hall.

Amet Gulkan, a veteran cab driver and member of the Coalition of Concerned Taxi Drivers says they are hoping to see an increase in the drop rate.

“Right now it is $3.00, maybe they could raise it to $3.25,” he said. “They need to reflect the [rising costs of ) gas.”

Matthew Thibault doesn’t mind paying a little extra to help the cab drivers. He says he knows how hard it is to make a living with a minimum wage job.

“If it’s not a huge increase, it doesn’t bother me,” he said. “If it’s a small amount why shouldn’t we help them? They’re paying for the gas that takes us places.”

On the other hand, not everyone shares the same opinion as Thibault. Christine Davis, who uses taxis as her main mode of transportation, is not pleased with the effects an increase will have on her wallet.

“I have to take a cab every night on my way home from work and it already costs me $25,” she said. “To hear that it may cost more really annoys me.”

Though some patrons feel that taxi companies are reaching into their pockets and taking their money, Gulkan says drivers are losing almost half of their pay.

“Taxi drivers may gross $150-$200 per shift if they are lucky,” he said. “We end up spending upwards of $80 a day for gas.”

Mark Dimuantes, a senior policy and research officer at City Hall says if the gas prices increase or stay as high as they are now, there is a possibility of a fare increase.

Dimuantes says if there is a decision to increase the fares [the taxi industry] will have to lobby politicians and speak to them about putting forward a motion.

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Posted: Apr 24 2008 7:57 pm
Filed under: News