BEVERLY — Taxi owners looking for a fare increase were left waiting at the curb last night.
A City Council subcommittee voted 2-1 to postpone a decision on whether it should raise the cost of a cab ride in the city for the first time in nine years.
Councilors were sympathetic to a request by cab companies to raise the rate, which is set by the City Council, but wanted more information before making a decision.
“I’m willing to support an increase,” Councilor Scott Houseman said. “It’s just a matter of what the increase is.”
Beverly currently allows taxis to charge $4 for the first sixth-tenths of a mile and $1.25 for each mile thereafter. At the request of Nyd-a-ryd Transportation owner Dennis Soper, City Council President Paul Guanci has proposed raising the initial rate from $4 to $5.50.
But Tri-City Taxi owner Igor Likhterov said it’s the $1.25 rate for the subsequent miles that should be raised to best help cab companies.
“Everybody else is around $3 for the second mile,” Likhterov said. “We cannot operate for $1.25 per mile.”
The math became confusing at some points, with councilors and cab owners comparing rates among various communities based on different fractions of a mile.
Councilors asked if there was any standardization in the industry in terms of applying rates. North Shore Taxi general manager Sean McKinnon said there is not.
“It varies in every city,” McKinnon said.
McKinnon said it would benefit both taxi riders and drivers if North Shore communities had the same rate. People who take a cab ride from Beverly to Danvers, for instance, end up paying two different rates for one ride.
“If we can get one regular rate and one senior (discount) rate in Salem, Beverly and Danvers, it would go a long way in making it less confusing for the people and the drivers,” McKinnon said.