Vomit Fee, Peak Hour Surcharge for Taxis

By: Wells Dunbar

If you take a taxi in Austin, don’t get sick in it. The Austin City Council voted today to approve a $100 clean-up fee if you vomit in a cab. City Manager Marc Ott is drafting “recommendations for implementation and enforcement strategies” of the new rule, which should go into effect on Feb. 9.

The council is also debating whether to charge a flat $2.50 surcharge for cab rides during the peak nighttime hours of 9 p.m. and 4:30 a.m.

Ed Kargbo, president and general manager of Yellow Cab Austin, said cab owners are in support of the surcharge, but not the amount proposed in Item 43.

“It would make us the highest charge at night on a single passenger basis,” he said.

Instead, Kargbo suggested a $1 surcharge per passenger. The council directed the Urban Transportation Committee to review this idea, which will be discussed at their next meeting.

Another council proposal to add 75 cabs in Austin drew opposition from dozens of drivers, claiming the increased competition for fares would impact their livelihood.

The number of new permits recommended was reduced to 45, with final approval postponed to Feb. 9 – the same day vomit fees are scheduled to go into effect.

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