Congestion Hurts Taxi Driver

I took a taxi today and thought I’d learn a bit more about the industry here in my adoptive city. I learned from my driver that he pays a flat $450 a week for seven 12-hour shifts (the lazy fellow only drives 6 of them, a mere 72 hour week). He pays this $450 whether or not he drives the 72 hours and whether or not he makes the $450 back. After this fee plus gas and some maintenance the revenue is his to keep (before taxes, of course).

“Does congestion hold you up any?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“I mean does it hurt your income?”

“Yes – of course the meter keeps running when I am standing still, but it is much better when I am moving.”

“How much do you think you lose each day because you are stuck in traffic.”

“$60” (There was no hesitation in his answer, so he either thinks about this weekly loss of $360 a lot, or perhaps because concerned journalists from the Toronto Sun, who surely understand his problem, have asked him this frequently. I’m guessing the former, but then, I’m biased.)

“Does that count the extra gas you burn just standing in traffic.”


Congestion pricing does not hurt poor people; congestion does. If congestion pricing were instituted in the city and taxis were exempt or discounted (which is the case in London), this driver would be far better off, as are the London cabbies, now.

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