City council adjusts taxicab fares

City council adjusts taxicab fares

Getting around town by taxicab will get a little pricier after Alexandria City Council approved tweaks to the heavily regulated industry’s fare structure Tuesday night.

Among the slew of changes, the standard drop fee will rise from $2.75 to $3 while the waiting charge, which begins three minutes after a cabbie arrives at a passenger’s requested pickup location, will jump from $22.50 an hour to $25. Passengers bringing pets along with them will incur an automatic $2 fee and drivers also can assess a $.50 per item fee — capped at $7 — for handling heavy baggage. The mileage rate likewise will change, from $2.04 to $2.16.

City transportation officials originally pitched doing away with grocery bag and animal fees while lumping trunk and suitcase charges into a “luggage handling fee” of $.50 per item capped at $5. They shifted gears after hearing from impassioned cabbies and industry representatives at a public hearing earlier this month.

The changes were brought up as part of the city’s biennial review of the industry. City staff maintains the supply of cabs in Alexandria — more than 700 — outweighs the demand.

City councilors also directed the traffic and transportation board to consider forcing cab drivers to accept credit cards for fares more than $10.

Tuesday’s approved fare changes marked the first since 2008.

-Derrick Perkins