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Congestion Pricing For For-Hire Vehicles In Manhattan Takes Effect Saturday

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Congestion pricing took effect at midnight Saturday for for-hire vehicles in Manhattan.

That means hailing a taxi or calling a car, like Uber or Lyft, will cost more when you head into the busiest parts of the borough.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the surcharges are necessary to pay for mass transit improvements.

While a taxi-industry lawsuit against the state continues in court, a judge has lifted a temporary restraining order – allowing the surcharge to move forward.

Web Extra: Read Complete Congestion Pricing Plan

The state will now start collecting a $2.50 fee on every cab ride below 96th Street, bringing the base fare in a taxi up to $5.80.

Passengers using app-based vehicles could see $2.75 added to fares, meaning a minimum base fare of $10.75.

It covers the following vehicles:

  • taxis
  • green cabs
  • limousines
  • black cars
  • livery vehicles (including vehicles commonly known as community cars),
  • rideshare/transportation network company vehicles
  • pool vehicles

Here are the charges:

  • $2.75 for each for-hire transportation trip in a vehicle that is not a medallion taxicab or a pool vehicle.
  • $2.50 per trip when the transportation is provided by a medallion taxicab vehicle.
  • $ 0.75 per pool trip.

The following vehicles are exempt:

  • transportation provided in connection with funerals
  • buses
  • school buses
  • transportation administered by or on behalf of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • transportation by ambulance or ambulette

"The judge's decision is a positive step in our efforts to find a dedicated revenue stream for our subways and buses, as well as easing congestion in Manhattan's central business district. More than $1 million a day will now go directly to the MTA, and we are moving forward vigorously with a full congestion pricing plan that will cover a total of $15 billion for the MTA's capital budget," said Patrick Muncie, spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "We will continue to defend the law, which was approved by the Legislature, at the next court date so that New Yorkers have a safe, reliable transportation system."

"You gotta get to work one way or another so. I mean I don't think it's fair," Orange County resident Christine Lilitka told CBS2. Lilitka was looking for a taxi at the Port Authority Bus Terminal Friday.

"You have to pay $6, that hurts a lot. It hurts a lot. It's very hard to make money," said taxi owner Macus Quiuia.

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance says the surcharges will cripple drivers and medallion owners.

"We're calling on the governor not to move forward with fees that will force drivers to choose between food and medicine. That is how dire the poverty is now among this workforce that has lost eight of our brothers to suicide in less than a year," the organization said in a statement.

Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the surcharge on the radio.

"I believe fundamentally there's a very strong market for for-hire vehicles and yellow cabs, but this surcharge is not going to fundamentally change the market," he said on WNYC.

Ride-share apps like Uber and Lyft say they support the effort.

"Users of Manhattan's congested roads, whether it's a personal vehicle, delivery truck, taxi or Uber – should pay their fair share to keep New York City moving forward," Uber said in a statement.

"It's imperative that all vehicles - including personal and commercial - are included in this effort," Lyft said.

The app-based companies will likely absorb some of the fees so they aren't passed on to customers.

"Unless it's an emergency I've got to be somewhere, then yeah, I'll just take the subway," said Vinny Downey of Hillsdale, N.J.

Friday was supposed to be the day ride-share drivers received a minimum wage increase, but some companies are fighting the measure.

The city's taxi and limousine commission set new payment standards last year, requiring a minimum of just over $17 an hour.

Lyft and Juno filed a lawsuit challenging the regulation this week. Uber and Via are expected to go along with the increase.

The taxi industry has a hearing scheduled for February 21st. Once it's fully implemented, the surcharge will apply to all vehicles within the zone.

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