I’m used to citing high housing prices when people ask about the cost of living in San Diego. But now I know of something that’s even higher-priced (relative to other cities, anyway.) According to a recent study by the Chicago Dispatcher, a blog for Chicago taxi and livery drivers, San Diego has the highest taxi fares in the country.
The study compared five-mile trips that included five minutes of waiting time in 34 geographic areas (ignoring such additional charges as airport fees, night fees, fuel surcharges, or baggage fees). The price of that five-mile San Diego trip was $20.40. Only Anchorage came close, with the same trip there costing $19.00. Washington DC was the cheapest at $11.50. But the price also was reasonable in plenty of other big cities (e.g. Chicago $12.72; Houston $12.87; New York City $14.10; Philadelphia $14.57).
Although the study found some correlations between the number of cabs per capita and the price of fares, they weren’t consistent. While cheap-ride Washington has 12.17 cabs per 1000 people versus San Diego’s measly .97, Hillsborough County has only .53 but the five-mile ride there costs only $14.30. San Diego’s current high fares aren’t a fluke either, according to the Voice of San Diego report that alerted me to the study. It stated that a 2006 survey also put San Diego at the top, behind only Honolulu (which was left out of the current survey, for reasons unexplained).
Sadly, the situation here is only getting worse. The UT San Diego reported March 17 that the Taxicab Advisory Committee of the Metropolitan Transit System has approved “higher mandatory rates on fares from the airport and higher optional rates for cabs operating throughout the city.” The airport fees ($1 per ride now, going up to $1.50 July 1) are in addition to other rate hikes just approved. And the committee is thinking about requiring all taxis to install security cameras.