Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cracking down on discrimination by taxi drivers

From the NY Times:

The city is seeing a big rise in complaints about scofflaw cabdrivers who refuse rides based on the passenger’s requested destination, officials said on Thursday.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission said it received 2,341 reports of refusals in the last half of 2010, a 38 percent increase from the same period a year prior, when 1,693 complaints were received.

It is illegal for a yellow cab driver to reject a passenger wishing to travel within the city or certain surrounding areas, but refusals remain a perennial problem. Particularly late at night, when taxis are scarce, many cabbies prefer to stay in Manhattan, where they are more likely to pick up another fare.

David S. Yassky, chairman of the taxi commission and a Brooklyn Heights resident, said he was alarmed by the trend. “A core component of taxi service is that the passenger chooses where to go in the five boroughs,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, it is getting to be like the bad old days when taxis wouldn’t go to Brooklyn.”

Mr. Yassky and the Bloomberg administration now want to raise the penalties on cabbies who are found to have refused a ride. A proposal floated on Thursday would levy a fine of $500 for first offenders, up from the current $200 penalty. Cabbies could have their licenses revoked if they commit three such infractions in a three-year period.


Anonymous said...

Too many cabs on the road these days. Get rid of all the non yellow "car services" and normal people would be able to drive freely around the city again.

Anonymous said...

Trick Dad taught me - get INTO the cab, THEN give them your destination, when they say "NO" don't get out, pick UP the phone, call the TLC.

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Anonymous said...

I think that he's a MERCEDES MARXIST.

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kingofnycabbies said...

This is, once again, one of those "Fun With Numbers" puzzles Mayor McChee$e is so fond of.

Just because the number of complaints rose 38% doesn't mean ther number of incidents rose that much. The city, after all, all but dials the phone for you in an effort to extort money from cabbies in the TLC kangaroo court, where drivers are always presumed guilty until proven otherwise.

People have been complaining about this, not unjustifiably, for years. Just why is the number so much higher now? Funny that this stat comes out the same week as TLC Chairman Yassky's op-ed signing off on Bloomberg's nonsensical outer-borough metered taxi fleet, thus guaranteeing an additional 3% loss of income to yellow cabbies already picked clean of 5% of their wages on credit card transactions. And comes out as Yassky announces a jump in the fine for refusal of outer-borough service from $200 to $500.

Then again, that's the fun in "Fun With Numbers." Just this week, we read that red light camera tickets went up 40% last year, yet the safety figures remained relatively static. If almost half as many drivers are speeding crazily through town, you'd think the carnage would rise accordingly. Or did the cash-strapped city simply tweak the cameras to up the total?