As fuel prices remain high, the Fairfax Board of Supervisors in late June approved a temporary uncodified ordinance that provides an emergency $2-per-trip taxicab fuel surcharge through Dec. 29.
In April, supervisors acted on a request from Old Dominion Transportation Group Inc. and approved a $1-per-ride surcharge, which expired June 11. During a public hearing last week, the acting director of Cable and Consumer Services, Rebecca Makely, asked lawmakers to approve a surcharge increase.
"This surcharge of $2 per trip will continue to provide relief to taxi cab drivers who are suffering economic hardships resulting from high gasoline prices and would expire on Dec. 29, 2022, unless rescinded sooner," Makely said.
Supervisor Daniel Stork questioned the need for the increase when surrounding districts were still at $1.
"I think the District of Columbia is at $1. Alexandria is at $1. Arlington's at $1. I think Prince William County is at $1. Just curious as to why we're doubling essentially what others have already agreed to?" Stork asked.
Makely said some of the other jurisdictions had the surcharge in place longer than Fairfax County and could potentially revisit the issue and approve an increase. She added that Prince William County anticipates increasing its surcharge once it expires in mid-July.
"Some of the other jurisdictions you mentioned had those for a longer period of time. The city of Alexandria adopted $1—they have it in place for one year, but they potentially could go back and revisit their surcharge as well,” Makely said.
The $2 increase is based on a formula that looks at the delta between the change in the last time taxicab rates were increased and what the fuel price was at that point compared to the current fuel price, Makely noted. She said the calculation would support a $2.14 surcharge.
Supervisors could rescind the surcharge at any point if gas prices decrease. However, Chairman Jeffrey McKay said it was essential to plan accordingly as the Dec. 29 deadline approaches.
"So that we don't have a gap of period of time where we go from a surcharge to no surcharge to a larger surcharge," McKay said.