Consumer Protection Commission to Hold Public Hearing on Emergency Rate Relief
Fairfax County Office of Public
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010
June 11, 2004
Consumer Protection Commission to Hold Public Hearing on Emergency Rate Relief Request for Taxi Cabs
The Consumer Protection Commission will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, June 15, at 8 p.m. in Conference Room 9 of the Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, to consider the recommendation of an immediate gasoline surcharge on taxicab rates of no less than 50 cents per trip, pursuant to Chapter 84.1 of the Fairfax County Code, Section 84.1-6-2(h). At its Monday, June 21 regular meeting, the Board of Supervisors is expected to consider authorization of an emergency 50 cents gas surcharge effective June 22, 2004, and the advertisement of a July 12 public hearing on this issue.
The request to institute an emergency gas surcharge – by Murphy Brothers Inc. – cited the need to prevent further erosion of drivers’ earnings and to avoid the loss of experienced, qualified drivers who may be forced to leave the industry.
Starting in early 2004, gasoline prices started trending significantly upwards, climbing 28 cents per gallon (20 percent) from December 2003 to April 2004. However, it was the record setting rise in gasoline costs that occurred between April and May this year that triggered this request for emergency rate relief. The unprecedented increases in costs from a $1.67 average per gallon price in April to observed prices as high as $2.19 per gallon in late May, represent a 52 cents increase or a 31 percent increase in one month, and a 58 percent increase in the prior six months.
Other than the vehicle lease cost, gasoline is the primary daily operating expense most Fairfax County taxicab drivers incur. Drivers typically use 16 gallons of gasoline per day. An increase in gasoline prices from approximately $1.50 to $1.96 per gallon costs drivers about $7.36 per day, or approximately $44.16 per week over a six-day workweek.
The proposed emergency rate surcharge of 50 cents per fare would help alleviate the financial burden currently being absorbed by the taxicab drivers while not compromising unfairly the cost to the riding public. A 50 cents surcharge would increase the overall cost of a one-mile trip by approximately 14.5 percent, a 10-mile trip by 2.8 percent, and a 20-mile trip by 1.5 percent. The industry has stated that trips of one to three miles are very unusual, with the average trip being 11 miles.
For more information on the public hearing or the
proposed emergency rate surcharge, contact Steve Sinclair, utility
analyst, Department of Cable Communications and Consumer Protection, at
703-324-5955, TTY 711.