Additional Permits hurt taxi driver income

By • on October 30, 2012


Release Date: Oct. 30, 2012

City of Austin Website

On April 26, 2012, Council approved allocation of additional taxicabs to Lone Star and Austin Cab Companies. On July 1, 2012, forty five additional taxicabs went into service as a result of that action. Thirty additional franchise permits were allocated to Lone Star Cab Company and an additional fifteen franchise permits to Austin Cab Company. At the September 27th meeting, Council directed staff to conduct a statistical analysis of the impact of those 45 additional permits and report back to Council with its findings.

ATD has compiled data responsive to this direction by collecting and analyzing data reported by all three local taxicab franchises. This analysis takes into consideration miles traveled, paid miles, passengers transported, total fares, taxi hours on duty and total trips provided. However, this analysis does not consider some factors that either could not be verified or could not be consistently applied. Those factors include tips received, terminal fees paid, as well as fuel purchases. It should also be noted that there was an increase in taxi rates (from $2.10 to $2.20 per mile), taxi wait times (from $27.00 to $29.00 per hour), as well as an approved $1.00 per-passenger surcharge (peak hour) that affects earnings in 2012.

Council also expressed an interest in whether or not this analysis would include data for the additional taxicabs from at least one major special event. Due to the fact that monthly reports conclude on the final day of each month, and the requirement to provide an analysis to council prior to the November 1st meeting, data from the Austin City Limits (ACL) festival could not be included in this analysis. An updated report will be provided when this data is available.

The analysis includes the months of July, August and September. In comparison with 2011, there was an increase of 6% in the number of taxicabs that could operate, the total number of trips by taxi decreased by 1%, and the total amount of fares collected increased by 1%. This is consistent with the data on taxi trip origination collected at the airport. The reports showed that the number of hours worked for the period went up by 13%, significantly above the expected 6% increase for the new permits.

More detailed information can be found here.

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