A taxi ride is getting more expensive in Atlanta after City Council members voted Tuesday to increase taxi fares.

Credit: Atlanta Checker Cab / Rick Hewatt

This move is aimed at making cabs more appealing for potential drivers.

Atlanta Checker Cab president Rick Hewatt says he’s down to about 40 drivers compared with 200 before Uber and Lyft.

He said that while ride-hailing companies can raise or lower their fares whenever they want, until now, Atlanta officials had not increased taxi fares in about 18 years.

“Timing is everything,” Hewatt said. “It wasn’t the time to raise the rate when we were fighting Uber and Lyft. It wasn’t the time to ask for a rate increase when there’s an international pandemic happening.”

So now riders will pay about 20% more across the board. Here’s how that breaks down:

  • Riders will pay $3.50 for the first 1/8th mile, up from $2.50.
  • Riders will pay .30¢ for each additional 1/8th mile, up from .25¢.
  • Riders will pay $24 per hour waiting time, up from $21 per hour.
  • Riders will pay at least $10 per trip, a new minimum charge.
  • Airport flat rate charges to various destinations, such as downtown ($36) and Buckhead ($48) also are higher.

Even with the rate increases, Hewatt said, average taxi rates still will be lower than ride-hailing services.

That’s because Uber and Lyft often charge during “surges” and can’t rely on investor subsidies anymore.

Atlanta Checker Cab hopes to benefit from rate increases.

“I think it gives us a leg up,” Hewatt said. “Hiring drivers has been a real challenge.”

The company has been in business in Atlanta for 76 years.

This story comes to Rough Draft Atlanta through a reporting partnership with GPB News, a non-profit newsroom covering the state of Georgia.

Orlando Montoya is the statewide newscaster producer for GPB.