Now that the Maryland Public Service Commission has bowed to the inevitable by granting Baltimore County cab drivers a rate increase to cover skyrocketing gas prices, you can bet Baltimore city cab rates won't be far behind. We wouldn't mind paying more per mile if we only could get a cab; this city undoubtedly has the worst taxi service in the region.

Why that's so is a mystery -- especially given that neighboring Washington has excellent service and even in the suburbs along the Baltimore-Washington corridor, a taxi is just a phone call away.

The MPSC needs to look into this when it reviews the taxi industry's fare structure. The need to increase fares as gas prices rise should give the commission some extra leverage in making recommendations aimed at improving overall cab service in Baltimore . If cabbies want to charge more money, the commissioners ought to make sure they will provide the service to go with it.

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