Another fee, another reason for taxi drivers to fear that fewer people will take a ride.
"They know we're going to fight back," said Mohammad Tipu Sultan, a driver with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. "We want the mercy, please. We want the bread and butter for our family."
That was the message to the Port Authority, which for the first time plans to impose a surcharge on airport trips.
The Port Authority wants to charge $4 on medallion cabs and for-hire cars like Ubers picking up riders at the airports, and another $4 on for-hire cars dropping people off.
This proposal comes after medallion values have tanked, leaving cab drivers and owners unable to pay their debts. It's a crisis that has led to several suicides.
"Don't be part of this mess because we are in deep trouble right now," a taxi driver told Port Authority officials at a board meeting Thursday.
The surcharge is part of a package of new fees, toll hikes and fare increases proposed by the Port Authority to raise $235 million a year.
"The blunt truth is that our facilities today are subpar," said Rick Cotton, director of the Port Authority. "The underinvestment has to stop."
Officials say most of the new revenue is needed to help the Port Authority meet its maintenance needs, especially with record levels of travelers and cargo traffic at the airports.
With the taxi fees, the Port Authority would join cities like Los Angeles and Chicago that also charge for airport rides.
But taxi medallion owners at the meeting say rides to and from the airports are more crucial than ever, essentially a sure thing, after the state recently began slapping a congestion fee on trips in Manhattan south of 96th Street. The new fee has reduced the number of street hails.
"The airport is the first thing that to comes to mind when I wake up, even in the morning," said Victor Salazar, a driver and medallion owner.
"They're reliable, whereas the streets, we're struggling, even in Manhattan, which used to be our bread and butter," Uppkar Thind said. "This is going to lower ridership for us."
Port Authority brass say the proposed toll hikes, the first since 2015, simply keep pace with inflation.
"We have tried to share the burden," Cotton said. "No price increase is painless."
The taxi drivers at the meeting said they'll be attending public hearings held later in July to implore Port Authority officials to drop the airport fees that they say will make it even harder to earn a living than it is today.