Cabbie says gas prices will punish riders without fare increase

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Gas prices continue to climb. According to AAA the national average is $3.93 and in Louisville drivers are paying $4.09 for the cheap stuff. That includes taxi drivers who can't raise their prices. They are regulated by the Metro Council, which hasn't acted on this since 2005, before gas was more than $4.00 per gallon. One taxi driver says it will end up hurting the riders.

"I drive Bardstown Road probably 100 times a week," said a taxi driver who WAVE 3 is identifying only as "Bob."

Bob does not want to use his full name for fear that someone will punish him for speaking out.

"I don't mind the city regulating it, but be aware and cognizant of when fuel prices go up, Kroger goes up, UPS I'm sure is putting their prices up, cut us a break too," said Bob. "Don't forget about the poor cab driver."

The real problem he says is that cabbies aren't getting enough help. The city allows them to charge 5 percent more when gas is at $2.50, $3 and $3.50 for an extended period of time, but no extra help when it tops $4.00. Bob says an extra 5 percent would help.

"Just something so we could keep rolling," said Bob.

WAVE 3 spoke with republican and democratic staff within Metro Council who both say they are unaware of a movement to change the ordinance to allow cabs to add another surcharge.

WAVE 3 contacted Robin Engel, District-22, who sponsored the ordinance in 2005 that allows taxis to add a 5 percent surcharge when gas remains at $3.50. His office says he is out of town on business and did not return the call.

WAVE 3 also left a message for Jim Mims, Director of Inspections, Permits and Licenses and Planning and Design Services for Metro Louisville, which deals with taxis. He has not returned the call either.

One driver, who says she's on a budget herself, feel badly for the cabbies.

"Everybody has to eat," said driver Cannise Phoenix. "Cab drivers are human too and I'm sure that they have families they have to feed also."

Bob says it could impact the quality of service.

"You might find that cab drivers are refusing to take these longer runs," said Bob. "Unless I know there's some business to be had, I'm not going out."

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