2009-06-12 / Top Stories

Cost Going Up For Car Service Ride

State Imposes Sales Tax On Livery-Car Trips
By Howard Schwach

Rockaway riders who use the ubiquitous car service rides to get around Rockaway will soon find they are paying a higher freight for the ride.

A provision in the budget passed by the State Legislature in April imposes a sales tax on livery car, limousine and corporate black-car trips within the state.

State officials say that the only ones exempt from collecting the 8.375 percent tax are licensed taxis, scheduled bus service and services provided in connection with funerals.

Passengers began paying the tax on June 1, although there was some initial confusion as to whether the car services fell into the taxi exemption. State officials told The Wave this week that livery cars, also called car service, and dollar vans in Rockaway, are not exempt.

The sales tax is to be collected by the driver and forwarded to the state by the car service or the base to which the driver is affiliated, state officials say.

One car service driver, who asked not to be identified, said that collecting the tax, about eighty-five cents on a ten dollar fare, might well put him out of the car service business.

"I have to pay more for gas, more for leasing the car, more to the base and now I have to collect another eight cents for the state," he said. "As it is now, I can't make a living. People are not going to ride with me if they have to pay a lot of money for the ride."

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