It's only fair that, as gasoline prices rise, local cab fares rise, too.
Local fares are regulated by the city, and Rock Hill's taxi drivers recently petitioned city leaders for permission to increase fares. The City Council gave its initial approval last week, and the final approval could come by the end of the month.
If that happens, the city's four cab companies will be allowed to charge up to a $3 base fee and $2.60 for each mile. That would be an increase from a $2 base and $2 per mile.
Drivers and owners of local cab services argue -- convincingly -- that they have taken a direct hit from rising fuel costs. They have seen a 42 percent increase in the cost of gasoline, from an average of $2.75 last year to nearly $4 now, with no signs that prices will drop any time in the near future. And prices have nearly doubled over the past two years.
Other cab companies across the nation have resorted to charging extra for loading luggage and other services. So far, local companies are not tacking on extra costs.
We also feel fortunate that, for a city its size, Rock Hill has four quality cab services. That is especially important for those without their own cars who rely on cabs to get around. These cab companies help make up for the lack of public transportation in the city.
It is important that they be allowed to charge enough to make a reasonable profit. Rising gas prices are not some secondary cost of doing business for the cab companies; they affect the primary ability to run the cabs.
If gas prices continue to rise, so should fares. Customers may grumble, but if they want to keep reliable cab in business, they have to pay for it.
Local cab fares must realistically reflect the steep rise in the cost of gasoline.