taxi.jpgAfter eight years of not much of anything happening for cabdrivers, SFMTA has decided on meter increases for the City’s taxis. Come July, cabs are expected to become a bit more expensive, adding 10-cents to the usual meter prices. And now it looks like you’d better have cash in hand to pay those fees.

While rates for riders might be going up, taxi drivers have to contend with a different type of increase, charging them 5% for every customer who uses a credit card. Strikes have been threatened by the drivers, although no concrete plans have been made. As many SFians know, however, cabbies are clever people and have reportedly found their own way to protest in the meantime.

As the NY Times/Bay Citizen reports, paying with cash is getting a lot more popular when taking a taxi in SF. Passengers aren’t doing so in solidarity with cab drivers, but because many drivers claim their credit card machines are broken. Some drivers have even added the word “no” to their standard “credit cards accepted” sign, though SF cabdrivers are required to accept credit cards by the SFMTA.

“All the machines are working just fine,” confirms cabbie Jeffrey Rosen told the NYT, which reports that “the number of cabbies refusing credit cards had increased markedly since the fee took effect.”

Readers, have you experienced this? If so, how have you handled the situation?

Want more news, sent to your inbox every day? Then how about subscribing to our email newsletter? Here’s why we think you should. Come on, give it a try.

the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!
  • Katie Baker

    This happens to me pretty much every time I take a cab! Which is not very often!

  • Katie Baker

    This happens to me pretty much every time I take a cab! Which is not very often!

  • Eve Batey

    The last two times I’ve taken a cab it did to me, too. Katie, with you, did they tell you when you got in or when they went to let you off?

    Both times for me were when they went to drop me off, and since I live far from ATMs, they discovered the machines had fixed themselves.

  • Eve Batey

    The last two times I’ve taken a cab it did to me, too. Katie, with you, did they tell you when you got in or when they went to let you off?

    Both times for me were when they went to drop me off, and since I live far from ATMs, they discovered the machines had fixed themselves.

  • Becca Klarin

    I had this happen recently; the driver told me he refused to take credit cards because of the fees, and if I couldn’t pay cash, then I could get out right there (by this time, we had gone about seven blocks and were speeding by 10th and Howard). I tweeted sf311 and SFMTA_Muni right then and there with the deets and got a response ASAP from 311 saying to call them to report the incident, which I did the next morning.

    Luckily, I had cash on me or else I would have been stranded in the depths of SOMA. SOMissMA. FolSoMa. Oh, screw it. On the street.

  • Becca Klarin

    I had this happen recently; the driver told me he refused to take credit cards because of the fees, and if I couldn’t pay cash, then I could get out right there (by this time, we had gone about seven blocks and were speeding by 10th and Howard). I tweeted sf311 and SFMTA_Muni right then and there with the deets and got a response ASAP from 311 saying to call them to report the incident, which I did the next morning.

    Luckily, I had cash on me or else I would have been stranded in the depths of SOMA. SOMissMA. FolSoMa. Oh, screw it. On the street.

  • Matt

    I’ve never been able to successfully use a credit card with a cab, so I’ve stopped asking.

    It’s a shame there doesn’t seem to be much concern for how hostile to the customer this is. I’d take cabs more often if I could use a card, but I suppose I’ll have to settle for taking a “convenience fee” out of their tip.

  • Matt

    I’ve never been able to successfully use a credit card with a cab, so I’ve stopped asking.

    It’s a shame there doesn’t seem to be much concern for how hostile to the customer this is. I’d take cabs more often if I could use a card, but I suppose I’ll have to settle for taking a “convenience fee” out of their tip.

  • MP

    This happened three times on Saturday afternoon. My friend and I were on Lombard St trying to hail a cab. One stopped, but had a huge “CASH ONLY” paper sign taped to his meter. He threw us out. There was a cab at the gas station who yelled over to us. So we ran over to him, then he refused to take us because we had no cash. We stopped a third cab, got in, then he threw us out because we were cash-less. It was infuriating! We finally called a friend and begged them to pick us up. At the end of the night we used the Uber cab app, was much easier and had a nice driver.

  • MP

    This happened three times on Saturday afternoon. My friend and I were on Lombard St trying to hail a cab. One stopped, but had a huge “CASH ONLY” paper sign taped to his meter. He threw us out. There was a cab at the gas station who yelled over to us. So we ran over to him, then he refused to take us because we had no cash. We stopped a third cab, got in, then he threw us out because we were cash-less. It was infuriating! We finally called a friend and begged them to pick us up. At the end of the night we used the Uber cab app, was much easier and had a nice driver.

  • whylime

    I took cabs both friday and saturday night, late…after 2 am, and both times the drivers confirmed where I was going and if I had cash before they’d even let me in the cab.

    I did have cash and I nearly always pay cabbies in cash, but the past month or so, they’ve been far more aggressive about it. I have no problems not tipping in that instance. The friday night cabbie got no tip because no only was he a jerk about the cash thing, but he tried to pad the fare by taking me a couple blocks out of the way.

    But the saturday night cabbie got a tip, he managed to get me home for $15, most drivers manage about $17 for the same ride…not really sure how he did it, he didn’t drive like a maniac and he took the route the standard route, I gave him $4 tip.

  • whylime

    I took cabs both friday and saturday night, late…after 2 am, and both times the drivers confirmed where I was going and if I had cash before they’d even let me in the cab.

    I did have cash and I nearly always pay cabbies in cash, but the past month or so, they’ve been far more aggressive about it. I have no problems not tipping in that instance. The friday night cabbie got no tip because no only was he a jerk about the cash thing, but he tried to pad the fare by taking me a couple blocks out of the way.

    But the saturday night cabbie got a tip, he managed to get me home for $15, most drivers manage about $17 for the same ride…not really sure how he did it, he didn’t drive like a maniac and he took the route the standard route, I gave him $4 tip.

  • chuck

    At DeSoto Cab there are new camera’s installed. It shows if and can hear if a driver refuses to use machine. Drivers will be disciplined if they refuse credit cards.

  • chuck

    At DeSoto Cab there are new camera’s installed. It shows if and can hear if a driver refuses to use machine. Drivers will be disciplined if they refuse credit cards.

  • wordygirl

    Isn’t the fare increase supposed to be used to install/keep up the ATMs in all cabs? I thought I read that somewhere. I also think all cabs have cameras, but it is at the driver’s discretion to turn it on or off.

    I’ve never had a cabbie tell me the ATM was broken, because I usually pay cash, but when I wanted a ride from the Fairmont to Cal/Davis, allasudden his shifter was broken. I got out and he drove away. Dick.

  • wordygirl

    Isn’t the fare increase supposed to be used to install/keep up the ATMs in all cabs? I thought I read that somewhere. I also think all cabs have cameras, but it is at the driver’s discretion to turn it on or off.

    I’ve never had a cabbie tell me the ATM was broken, because I usually pay cash, but when I wanted a ride from the Fairmont to Cal/Davis, allasudden his shifter was broken. I got out and he drove away. Dick.

  • supertamsf

    What if they used Square? Or is that too simple & obvious?

  • supertamsf

    What if they used Square? Or is that too simple & obvious?

  • Housechore

    Cabbies are now making “fun” signage about the issue, perhaps working a guilt angle over the 5% fee? Photo evidence I found this afternoon on my ride home: http://twitpic.com/52yh1i

    FWIW, I primarily use cards in cards in cabs for my daily commute. I’m able to use a card about 70% of the time. Never certain whether those machines are really broken or not, but generally give up and make the driver drop me at an ATM near my home or office.

    Now, if only we could have a true, centralized dispatch…

  • Housechore

    Cabbies are now making “fun” signage about the issue, perhaps working a guilt angle over the 5% fee? Photo evidence I found this afternoon on my ride home: http://twitpic.com/52yh1i

    FWIW, I primarily use cards in cards in cabs for my daily commute. I’m able to use a card about 70% of the time. Never certain whether those machines are really broken or not, but generally give up and make the driver drop me at an ATM near my home or office.

    Now, if only we could have a true, centralized dispatch…

  • Housechore

    Cabbies are now making “fun” signage about the issue, perhaps working a guilt angle over the 5% fee? Photo evidence I found this afternoon on my ride home: http://twitpic.com/52yh1i

    FWIW, I primarily use cards in cards in cabs for my daily commute. I’m able to use a card about 70% of the time. Never certain whether those machines are really broken or not, but generally give up and make the driver drop me at an ATM near my home or office.

    Now, if only we could have a true, centralized dispatch…

  • Housechore

    Cabbies are now making “fun” signage about the issue, perhaps working a guilt angle over the 5% fee? Photo evidence I found this afternoon on my ride home: http://twitpic.com/52yh1i

    FWIW, I primarily use cards in cards in cabs for my daily commute. I’m able to use a card about 70% of the time. Never certain whether those machines are really broken or not, but generally give up and make the driver drop me at an ATM near my home or office.

    Now, if only we could have a true, centralized dispatch…

  • Eve Batey

    Hey, supertamsf, what am I missing — how would Square keep these drivers from having to pay the legally-required 5% fee on transactions?

  • Eve Batey

    Hey, supertamsf, what am I missing — how would Square keep these drivers from having to pay the legally-required 5% fee on transactions?