In the latest sting operation against the dreaded “cabbies who won’t go to Brooklyn,” the TLC hired college students for $10 an hour to pose as regular old taxi riders and hail cabs with a request to go to the outer boroughs. Since September, 1,330 cabs have been hailed, and 361 refused to take the kids where they wanted to go, which means the average rate of failure here is 27%. One of the undercover riders, who said he’s been turned down about 70 times, said, “They would say, ‘I’m sorry,’ and give me a lot of excuses.” (Fortunately, there were no reports of anyone yelling, “Get the fuck out! I’ll break your face!”)
In another test of the system, TLC agents had found that drivers would refuse to go where they were asked about 4% of the time, which is why they got college students to participate in the latest effort (they thought drivers were recognizing the TLC agents).
The drivers busted now face fines for their refusal to go to Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and northern Manhattan. The TLC repeats:
“Our rules are crystal clear: a taxi passenger is entitled to go to any of the five boroughs,” TLC Chairman David Yassky said. “Our enforcement initiative is designed to make sure drivers understand that there will be a penalty for refusing service. “
The fine, as we’ve written previously, is now $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for the second offense in two years. Why is this all so difficult?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 2, 2011