Taxi drivers asking for rate increase due to gas prices

Columbus taxi cab drivers, like Joey Smajd, said they have done everything the can to deal with the rising gas prices, from changing their routes to driving more fuel efficient cars.  "I drive a 2003 Toyota Corolla, it definitely saves fuel compared to a lot of the drivers that have vans. We try to change driving habits and not take off too fast," explained Smajd.

Smajd and others asked Columbus Council on Tuesday to consider changing the ordinance that regulates the rates for a cab ride.  The last time the rates were changed, it was 2004 and the average price of gas was a dollar and a half less than it is now, at $2.09.
Drivers say they are having to work a few extra hours a day to make up for the rising prices.  "I have two daughters at home and I would like to get back to them a little earlier.  We spend 3, 4, 5 extra hours every day just covering our fuel expenses." said Smajd.
Specifically, drivers asked for council to vote for a $0.20 increase per mile and a $2.00 surcharge.  They also asked to be allowed to ask for $3.00 for each additional passenger.
While some of the counselors were ready to vote today, others wanted a work session and more time to talk to Columbus residents.  Pops Barnes said, "You know, $0.50 to a quarter is a lot to a lot of people. So we need to do some due diligence here before we make a decision."

In two weeks, Council will have a first hearing on the new ordinance.

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