Khaled Ebed has been feeling the crunch at the pump. He used to pay $29 a day, but after the recent spike in gas prices he now pays at least $50 a day to fuel his yellow cab. Add to this the $650 he pays a week to rent his taxi, up from $600 a few months ago, the 5 percent credit card companies receive when his passengers use plastic, and it’s easy to see how his take home pay has shrunk. “I came here from Egypt eight years ago,” he says. “The increase in prices has made it hard to send money back. Before I sent $500 a month. Now, I can barely send $200.”
Surjit Lal has driven the city’s streets for 21 years, splitting his take-home pay between New York and sending money to his family overseas. Lately, as gas prices soared, that balance has been up-ended. “I pay an extra $300 a month for gas. It’s very bad,” he says. I can’t send money home and can barely pay bills here.” He hears talk of a union but nothing is being done. “We need a $1 surcharge for every passenger,” he says.