NYTWA Memo on Exemption for Yellow + Green Cabs from Congestion Pricing
EXEMPT YELLOW AND GREEN TAXIS FROM THE STATE “CONGESTION SURCHARGE:”
AMEND N.Y. Tax. L. §1299
After losing 40% in revenue over the last five years, the State has added a $2.50 surcharge to all taxi trips in Manhattan below 96th Street, where ~95% of yellow trips occur.
The surcharge has already had a devastating impact, reducing ridership by an estimated 15%. A 15% decrease in gross income can mean a 50% decrease in driver take-home pay, after all expenses.
Applied to taxis the surcharge does nothing to reduce congestion, because yellow cabs are capped, and the business model (designed by City regulations) focuses their service in the Central Business District of Manhattan.
The approximately $200 million in revenue to be collected from yellow and green taxis will decline rapidly – leaving the MTA underfunded - and can be easily raised through fairer, progressive taxes.
The New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) calls for an immediate amendment to N.Y. Tax. L. §1299 to exempt yellow and green taxis from the congestion surcharge in effect since February 2nd, 2019.
Despite the fact that yellow taxis have already contributed $650 million specifically toward the MTA since 2010, the State recently imposed a $2.50 tax on every taxi ride that touches the Congestion Zone of 96th Street and below in Manhattan – also known as the “yellow zone” as approximately 95% of taxi trips begin and end there –expected to lead to a 30% decline in ridership for yellow cabs who have already seen ridership drop by 40% from five years ago, a record low. While taxi drivers have not gotten a raise on the metered fare in seven years, a sales tax this large robs them of any hope of a raise anytime soon, as any increase would only depress ridership further. The MTA, meanwhile, will remain underfunded. Reducing taxi mileage in the CBD will also not reduce congestion given the record low number of cars and their efficiency at a higher rate than other vehicles. The only outcome here is the further impoverishment of a workforce already in crisis. It is impractical, and it is cruel.
Read our Exemption Support Memo to the NYS Legislature below: