More than 1,500 Chicago cab drivers have signed a petition calling for the first fare hikes since 2005, in addition to proposing new fees for passengers who pay with credit cards, travel in large groups or vomit in the car during a late-night ride.
Drivers are calling for fares to be raised by 22 percent, and for a host of additional charges, including $1 each for additional passengers, $1.50 for credit card transactions to absorb some processing costs and a $50 penalty for fraudulent payments, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. They are also requesting a $75 "cleanup fee" for in-car messes, especially vomit from inebriated passengers.
The petition was submitted to the city clerk a week after Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a planned overhaul of dilapidated and fuel-inefficient vehicles being used as taxi cabs, and proposed limitations on the amount of hours drivers can spend on the road.
(Watch Emanuel's announcement below).
Drivers claim these new requirements must be accompanied by fare adjustments that will increase their revenue.
"The city is complaining we're working too many hours. We wouldn't be working all these hours if they had given us fare increases in the past," Thaddeus Budzynski, a veteran cabbie and leader of the petition initiative, told the Sun-Times. "After working 12 hours a day and paying operating expenses, we're averaging $4.38 an hour."
If the City Council verifies the petition, the City Council's Transportation Committee will hold public hearings on its proposal within the next 60 days, according to NBC Chicago.
Cab fares haven't been adjusted since the City Council imposed a freeze in 2005, except for the addition of a surcharge in 2009 to augment rising gas prices, WGN reports.
See Mayor Emanuel's announcement of planned taxi cab overhauls:
View more videos at: http://nbcchicago.com.