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Raleigh Cabbies Want Rate Increase

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Many drivers favor a raise every two years, like a cost of living increase.
RALEIGH — Taxi drivers don't always get a lot of respect. Most of them put in long days, sometimes 12 hours or more, and often don't feel they have a lot to show for it. Now, some of them are talking about a fare hike.

Currently in Raleigh and Wake County, it costs $1.35 to get into a taxi plus $1.50 per mile after that. It has been that way for nearly a decade, and taxi drivers say it's time for a raise.

Imagine not getting a raise for nine years. That's what's happened to cab drivers in the Raleigh area.

The lack of an increase is forcing some taxi drivers to cut corners on maintenance and other spiraling costs.

"Since I've been in the business about the last 13 or 14 years, the insurance has increased about 500%," explains driver Howard Dover.

Drivers say part of the problem they have is that they must petition city council for a fare increase. Cabbies say it's hard to get a petition drive going in such a loosely knit group.

Driver Harold Johnson says there's been talk of a petition off and one for a while, but getting organized is half the problem.

Some customers believe a fare hike in Raleigh would be fair. Karen Johnson says the cab drivers are people who have to live too. They should get a raise to provide for their families.

Taxi drivers don't favor a lump sum increase, like the 35% hike they received nine years ago. That really upset customers.

"If we got them, say on a regular basis, maybe every two years, sort of like a cost of living basis, I think that would help us out a lot," Johnson explains.

When Raleigh's council votes on taxi fare hikes, it has a ripple effect in Wake County. Communities throughout the county usually agree to allowing the same fares to remain consistent. The Durham area has the same fare structure as Raleigh. Those rates haven't gone up in about five years.