San Marcos City Councilmembers updated a 40-year-old taxicab ordinance last week. Photo by Andy Sevilla.
By ANDY SEVILLA
In the process of updating a 40-year-old taxi ordinance and addressing 2 a.m. bar closings, the San Marcos City Council approved legislation last week setting taxi cab fares for the foreseeable future.
Cabs will be allowed to charge a maximum of $5 for a pick-up fee and $2 per mile within the city limits. The $5 fee is imposed for parties of four persons or fewer. Any additional individuals will drive up that cost by $1 per person.
All cabs operating in San Marcos will be required to determine the total bill for a trip from a taximeter.
“A person may not drive or allow another person to drive a taxicab unless the taxicab is equipped with an operational taximeter that displays an accuracy seal, certifying its accuracy in accordance with procedures determined by the Chief of Police,” reads the legislation.
The taximeters will be calibrated to charge no more than cents per quarter mile for all trips.
San Marcos fares will ride along with the more expensive cities, compared with Austin, San Antonio, New Braunfels, Seguin, and Huntsville.
San Marcos is edged out only by New Braunfels for a pickup fee or minimum charge. New Braunfels charges $10 for a pickup, compared to San Marcos’ $5. Seguin charges a minimum between $2 and $6 and Huntsville has a minimum charge of $3.
San Marcos was the more expensive city for a five-mile trip, except for New Braunfels where cabs can charge between $12 and $17.50. San Marcos cabs will charge $15 for a five-mile trip, whereas Austin comes in at $14.05, San Antonio at $12.75, Huntsville at $7.20, and Seguin between $6 and $10.
In San Marcos, taxis can charge up to $15 per hour that a driver must wait for a passenger, or $.25 per minute of wait time. Cabs also will have the option of imposing a cleaning fee of up to $250, if a passenger soils a taxicab.
The council passed the first reading of the ordinance at its March 23 meeting. The legislation is set to go into effect June 1.
San Marcos Police Department (SMPD) Chief Howard Williams will then brief councilmembers every January on whether cab fares need adjusting.
“The Chief of Police shall base such the determination on the consumer price index, the costs of gasoline, and other reasonable costs operating a taxicab service,” reads the ordinance.
(Editor’s note: The headline has been revised to say the San Marcos City Council set maximum cab fares.)