Cabbies threaten strike without fare hike

CHICAGO Members of the United Taxi Drivers Community Council gathered Thursday outside the mayor's office.

On Friday, a fuel surcharge put in place last spring will be cut in half because gas prices have been down for seven days. But these cab drivers say they need a permanent, 16 percent fare increase. They say they haven't had one in nearly four years.

On Thursday, they issued an ultimatum, saying the city has two weeks to agree to a fare increase or a face a cab strike.

"Every other industry you know gets regular fare increases every year or two," said Peter Enger, United Taxidrivers Community Council. "The aldermen get an increase every year. And we would like to have nothing less than what every other industry gets as a matter of course."

Commissioner Norma Reyes with the Department of Consumer Services says the city is trying to balance costs for passengers, drivers and cab owners. She says the flat rate for shared rides was increased this year.

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