Prince William County extends surcharge increase for taxis

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Prince William County is providing a 60-day extension on its boost for taxicab drivers while considering a permanent extension and deregulating the business.

During its meeting last Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors extended its emergency gas surcharge ordinance through July 13.

The ordinance, first approved in March, allowed drivers of Yellow Cab of Prince William County to raise base rates by $1. The rate will be $4 as a base and $2 per mile. The taxicab company is regulated by the state and local government. The state allows localities to establish ordinances governing specifically taxicab companies, giving the local government power to set and adjust rates.

Yellow Cab was established in 1978 as a consolidation of three companies that were founded as far back as 1940.

The ordinance comes as gas prices in Northern Virginia averaged $4.38 per gallon for regular this week, according to AAA. A month ago, the average price was $4.07, and a year ago it was $2.85. The board also authorized a public hearing to permanently raise the rates.

The ordinance passed 7-1 with Supervisor Yesli Vega, R-Coles, casting the dissenting vote.

Vega said she voted against the ordinance because she doesn’t want the county regulating the actions of a private business. She directed county staff to provide the pros and cons of its regulatory authority so the board can decide if it wants to continue overseeing the company.

“This is something we don’t really have to do,” Vega said.

$3.2M tagged for crisis receiving center

In other business, the county allocated $3.2 million to support a 24-hour crisis receiving center.

The money was $1.5 million in one-time federal funding, $1.5 million in one-time state money and $200,000 in ongoing state revenue.

The state defines crisis stabilization services as direct interventions to avert emergency psychiatric hospitalization or institutional placement for people suffering mental health crises.

The unit would accept drop-offs and people under temporary detention orders to connect them with treatment and services. The county had a regional crisis stabilization unit with six beds, but the company operating it consolidated the program with one in Fairfax to provide a 16-bed facility in Chantilly. The local program ceased operations June 30, 2021.

The facility would include 16 beds and cost $4.7 million at full buildout.

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