A Pittsburgh taxi company wants to see more green when you step into their yellow cabs.
Pittsburgh Transportation Group (PTG) is asking the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for a rate hike.
Yellow Cab’s parent PTG wants a surcharge of 17 cents a mile to replace all others, including the $1.15 fee on the flag drop.
This would raise the current rates of $1.75 a mile to $1.92 a mile.
Company President Jamie Campolongo said the current surcharge is outdated and gives drivers who make short trips more money than those who drive longer trips.
“People hate these surcharges anyhow…it’s always a problem, the customer wondering why the driver’s running up their fare, which is understandable. So this way they get in, they flag the meter and that’s it, there’s no hidden cost, there’s no anything else, it’s all based on the mileage,” said Campolongo.
Campolongo emphasized that the money produced from these changes would not go to the company, but to the drivers themselves because they must lease their cabs and pay for their own fuel.
“We hear the public saying ‘why am I charged a dollar 60 surcharge? I went around the corner with a bag of groceries and the fair was $3.00, the surcharge was a dollar 60, that’s crazy’ and we heard out drivers say ‘look, you know, I just did a 45 mile trip and I got a dollar 60, I burned 6 gallons of gas’ or whatever it is, this really just a way to get it fair and equitable,” said Campolongo.
Yellow Cab is also looking to increase the ‘wait time’ from 25 cents a minute to 55 cents a minute.
Campolongo said drivers are losing money waiting for their customers instead of making more trips.
“It’s really meant for ‘hey wait for me’ or ‘sit here, I’ll pay my bill’ ‘I got to get finished’ and the person doesn’t want to lose their cab, but we don’t want the driver to leave, so it sounds odd but it really has a customer service component to it,” said Campolongo.
For the people who are making the cab driver wait a significant amount of time, their charges will begin as soon as the driver knows they have to wait.
But Campolongo said the increase in ‘wait time’ is not for all customers.
“These are for people who are willing to pay that. If they’re not willing to pay and they’re on time and they’re standing where they’re supposed to be, there’s no fee, it will be the same as it was before,” said Campolongo.
Campolongo said there would not be a change in rates for time wasted sitting in traffic and in that case, the rates switch from mileage to time.
Yellow Cab is asking for the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to implement this by June 30. If approved, this would increase the estimated total revenue over $206,000.