It’s happened to all of us (and, for whatever the reason, always when we’re in a rush): standing in the middle of an avenue, hailing down a cab in the later hours of night and having numerous cabs fly by you, waving their hand in a gestural “Tough luck” sort of way. And, of course, the later realization that the cab you’re flailing your hand at is ‘off duty’ but that always comes when it’s too late. Luckily, the last part will now be a thing of the past.
Yesterday, the Taxi and Limousine Commission voted
7-1 to put some new lights on the yellow machines that grace our streets. And they will only include two options: medallion light on, medallion light off.
No more ‘off duty’ or any of the other Rockefeller-Center-like light shows that some of these taxis put on. This, of course, is following that classic New Yorker mentality that every taxi cab is out to make your day worse by not noticing that you’re in a rush. And this rush, of course, is indicated by how fast your waving that hand of yours. Because taxi drivers are telepathic; don’t forget that.
Under the new rules, that ‘off duty’ light will be banned. And, according
to the New York Post
, it’s annoying a few cabbies who make money with their ‘off duty’ lights on (which is technically illegal). It’s a matter of convenience on their ride back to the taxi depot; a practice I see all the time at night in Greenpoint, where cabbies offer reduced fares after they’re done with their shift to drive North Brooklyners home on their way back to the taxi center nearby.
However, weighing those small trips for an extra buck against the frustrated avenue-hangars who continue to yell at the ‘off duty’ cabs was the main dynamic here. Except, by matter of the TLC’s vote, it looks like we, the cab hailers, won by default.
Here’s to making our constantly rushed lives a little more convenient.