Taxi fares in the District could rise by as much as 83 percent if a rate increase proposal is approved by the D.C. Taxicab Commission later this month.

The commission held a hearing Tuesday to debate the proposal, which was submitted by independent taxi operator Nicholas Maxwell.

The plan would increase to the per-mile rate from $1.50 to $2.75, while dropping the starting fee from $3.00 to $2.75 and eliminating surcharges.

At the meeting, several taxi drivers called the increase insufficient and instead called for a plan that would keep the current starting fee and surcharges and change the per-mile rate from $1.50 to $2.00.

The commission is expected to make its final ruling on the changes Dec. 13.

Though they debated the specifics of the plan, many taxi drivers agree that there is need for reform. They said that District taxicabs have one of the lowest fare rates in the nation, though the cost of living has steadily increased.

“I just want a fair fare,” Mussie, a D.C. taxi driver who did not want to provide his last name, told The Hoya.

Since the taxicab union was a major backer of D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray’s campaign for office, some speculate that Gray will be partial to the proposal.

“Certainly any politician is going to work to reward his supporters once they’re in office,”  Jack Jacobson, a spokesman for taxi rider advocacy group DC Taxi Watch, told the Washington Examiner. “I would hope that’s not the case here, but it certainly looks that way.”

Mussie said he voted for Gray because he seemed favorable to taxi drivers.

“I voted for Mayor Gray because he … listens to the city,” he said.

The mayor’s office declined to comment.

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