In Atlantic City, cab fares are regulated by the state of New Jersey. Within the city limits, no single fare can exceed $13. Now, with fuel prices staying high, many taxi companies are seeing large decreases in profits…and pay.
"Since the price of gas got more, it's $100 more a week," said cab driver Ahmed Rashawn, 58. Rashawn said he works 12-hour shifts, seven days a week in Atlantic City, in a car with more than 206,000 miles on it. Over the past year, higher gas prices have cost him between one-third and one-quarter of his weekly take-home pay.
Greg Brock, one of the owners of Mutual Cab in Atlantic City, said gas prices were making business difficult, but that customer loyalty and steady business has kept the company going. Mutual's Lincoln Town Cars typically fill up once per 12-hour shift, Brock said. Drivers can travel hundreds of miles, including as far as Virginia or Massachusetts.
Helen Gonzalez, one of the owners of Green Cab, said gas prices have led drivers to ask city officials to raise minimum taxi rates from $3, but no action has been taken.
"This is really killing us," she said. "Me, myself, I have a mortgage. I can't make what I'm making off the cabs. I had to go into my savings because of what's going on. The thing is, if you've been in the business as long as I have - 15 years - you can't just get rid of the cab. So you stick it out and hope for the best."
Photo courtesy of Adrian 8_8 and re-used under the Creative Commons license.