taxi.jpgThe San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors Tuesday voted both to increase city taxi fares and the total number of taxicabs on city streets, SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said.

Rose said the board unanimously approved a flag drop rate increase by from $3.10 to $3.50. The flag drop rate is the amount of money on the meter when a passenger enters a taxi, Rose said.

According to Rose, the rate increase goes into effect in 30 days.

The board also voted 6-1 to increase the number of taxis driving in San Francisco, Rose said.

Currently, Rose said there are around 1,500 authorized taxis driving in the city. In 90 days, paperwork will be complete for the issuance of 85 new taxi medallions, according to Rose.

Rose said 50 of the new medallions will be for part-time single operators, which limit holders to driving for no more than 60 hours per week.

Thirty-five of the new medallions will be issued for full-time taxicabs, and Rose said these enable holders to have drivers working up to two 10-hour shifts per day.

Another two medallions will be issued specifically for ‘battery switch’ electric taxis which will also be able to drive full time, Rose said. The two electric cabs won’t be in service until 2012.

In May, the board approved a 10-cent increase to taxi rates from 45 to 55 cents per fifth of a mile or minute of wait time.

Julia Bernstein, Bay City News

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