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.