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State Commissioners Raise Taxi Standards, But Not Fares

P. Kenneth Burns / WYPR

The Maryland Public Service Commission has decided to keep taxicab rates the same in Baltimore City and county, but at the same time require cab drivers to install new meters that take electronic payments.

The commission issued the ruling Tuesday, five years after several cab companies asked to raise rates by 18 percent in the city and 14 percent in the county.  The current base fare for both jurisdictions is $1.80 plus 20 cents for every one-eleventh of a mile.

Among other things, the commission cited a letter from Dwight Kines, a vice president with Veolia Transportation, asking that rates not be increased.  Veolia owns Yellow Cab Company and the Checker Cab Association.

Kines said taxicabs are competing with ride sharing apps Lyft and Uber for business and a fare increase would “take us out of the ball game.” His letter included the signatures of 150 permit holders who no longer wanted the increase.

The PSC’s order also requires cab drivers to install meters that will accept credit and debit cards, print receipts and collect information on trips and finances that drivers report to the commission. The meters are to be installed by the end of the year.