Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Taxi drivers, beware! Mayor Bloomberg to crack down on cabbies who refuse outerborough fares

Wednesday, March 9th 2011, 2:53 PM

The city announced it will crack down on cabbies that refuse to accept certain fares.
Acker/Bloomberg
The city announced it will crack down on cabbies that refuse to accept certain fares.

Mayor Bloomberg vowed to come down hard on cabbies who refuse to take passengers to their requested destinations.

Unveiling footage of covert stings on cabbies, Bloomberg assured cabbies that enforcement has been stepped up to ensure "every person who puts a hand in the air to hail a cab is treated the same."

"It doesn't matter which borough you are coming from or which borough you're going to - if you want to hail a cab, drivers are required by law to take you to any destination in the city. Period. End of story," Bloomberg said.

Officials will seek City Council approval to increase fines against no-go hacks and took the unusual step of posting on YouTube videos of two drivers refusing to take an undercover inspector to Queens and Brooklyn.

One driver insisted "I don't have GPS" when asked to go to Brooklyn. The incredulous undercover replies, "You don't have a map?" And the driver responds, "I don't have a map."

Another passenger asked to go to Liberty Ave. and Lefferts Blvd. in Queens, causing the driver to protest and eventually stammer, "No, no. No, take somebody else."

Both drivers received summonses. The second had two previous violations for illegal refusal and faces having his license revoked.

Refusal complaints against cabbies have spiked more than 36%, rising from 2,128 between July 2009 and February 2010 to 2,887 between July 2010 and February 2011, Taxi and Limousine Commission Chairman David Yassky said.

City Councilman James Vacca, chairman of the transportation commission, vowed to introduce a law setting higher fines.

"I've had it with drivers who think they can choose which laws to obey and which not to obey," said Vacca (D-Bronx) said. "Too many passengers seeking to go outside Manhattan are being told to take a hike, when it is the cabbies who flout the law who should take a hike."

African-Americans have long complained cabbies won't take them to their neighborhoods in northern Manhattan or the outer boroughs. Cabbies have said they don't want to go to the outer boroughs because they won't get a passenger looking for a ride back to Manhattan, reducing their earnings.

The proposed new fines are:

$500 for a first offense;

$750 and a 30-day suspension for a second offense within 24 months;

and mandatory TLC license revocation for a third offense within 36 months.

The current penalty structure is:

$200-$350 for a first offense;

$350-$500 and a possible 30-day suspension for a second offense within 24 months;

and Mandatory TLC license revocation for a third offense within 36 months.

pdonohue@nydailynews.com


Video by Rafael Martínez Alequín for YFP

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