Unlicensed cab drivers are charging tourists $120 a pop for a ride from the airports to Manhattan, and Inside Edition is mad as hell about it. In one of their priceless hidden camera exposés, airing tonight at 6 p.m., the show's muckrakers put their lives on the line to show you what you hopefully already knew: shady individuals are preying on people at the airport.
In June, a group of French tourists got taken on a crazy, high-speed chase when cops moved in on one of the illegal livery van drivers, but that doesn't seem to have deterred the grifter hacks. In the Inside Edition segment, an undercover producer posing as a French tourist is approached by one of the drivers at JFK and offered a ride to Manhattan for $65. (By law, it's supposed to cost $45.) But as they approach Manhattan, the driver announces that the price has gone up to $85, and when they reach the destination, he tells the producer to make it an even $120.
The highlight is when the producer angrily confronts the driver, and the driver promises, "I’m going to stop doing it…'cause it’s against the law." But then they catch him hustling tourists again at the airport the following week! That lifestyle's just too tempting. One producer thought he had a relatively good deal when a JFK hustler offered him a ride to Manhattan for $65, but "the driver ignored every traffic law imaginable and reached speeds as high as 70 miles an hour on the expressway at the height of rush hour by driving recklessly in the breakdown lane." Which just shows that you can't skimp on illegal cabs.
According to the report, security guards at the airports don't do anything to stop the drivers from swooping down on tourists "like vultures." A new law is awaiting the governor's signature that will make the crime a misdemeanor; as it stands now first-time offenders can only be fined.