Taxi meters will reflect 10 percent lower rates beginning July 1.
Responding to concerns by senior citizens about high taxi rates, Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini said Wednesday he has negotiated rate reductions with both of the city’s cab vendors.
Both companies, Haverhill Taxi and Family Cab, have agreed to a 10 percent across the board cut in taxicab rates effective July 1 of this year, Fiorentini said.
“Last year, I had a number of meetings in elderly housing complexes. A number of senior citizens complain to me about the high cost of taking a taxicab in Haverhill. When I investigated, I found that we had some of the highest taxicab rates anywhere,” the mayor said.
The rate reduction comes as city councilors considered imposing lower rates on tax companies because of reduced gasoline prices. As late as last Thursday, members of the council’s Administration and Finance Committee were prepared to act unilaterally, if necessary, subcommittee chairman Colin F. LePage told WHAV.
“The year 2011 was the last time we set rates when gas prices were skyrocketing. But, now gas prices are down. Why are we still paying more?” LePage asked. At the request of the mayor, councilors authorized Secretary Barbara Arthur to solicit information from other cities.
For many senior citizens who are confined to elderly housing and public housing, taxicabs are their only option for getting groceries or getting to the doctor, Fiorentini’s office said in a statement. Seniors complained, however, high taxicab rates made it expensive and difficult to do the things they need to do on a daily basis. He thanked the owners of both companies for their assistance.
“At a time when just about everything is going up from electricity prices, to groceries, to gasoline, it is unheard of to get a 10 percent across the board rate cut. I commend both companies for agreeing to this. This will help our low income community and our senior citizens. I’m hopeful it will encourage more people to take taxicabs and ultimately will help the cab companies as well.”
Fiorentini and Chief of Staff David S. Van Dam appeared at Thursday’s Administration and Finance Committee to announce the negotiated agreement. Taxi rates are a combination of charges for the first one-eighth mile and “use time,” LePage said. Besides the rate reduction, the councilor added, taxi owners have agreed to not begin charging use time until passengers are seated. Previously, owners charged for the time waiting for residents to exit their homes or load packages.
The council subcommittee voted to formally recommend the rate reduction to the full city council.