If there is one thing we hate the most about taxis it is being turned down by a cabbie who doesn't want to go where ever it is we are going. They know it is illegal and we know it is illegal but it happens all the time. Since the advent of 311 however, it has gotten much easier for us to fight back. Where once you had to write a cab's info down and wait to get to a phone to call the TLC, now you can report a bad driver without leaving the vehicle (assuming you got in in the first place). We've done it a number of times, and apparently so have you. Between July and December 2009 there were 1,963 reports of service refusal while in the same period in 2010 there were 2,341. Worried by that jump, the TLC is now making moves to give drivers further financial incentive to do their job.
“A core component of taxi service is that the passenger chooses where to go in the five boroughs,” TLC Commissioner and Chair David Yassky told the Post. “Unfortunately, it is getting to be like the bad old days when taxis wouldn’t go to Brooklyn."
Right now a driver convicted of a refusal gets a fine of $200-$350 for their first offense, $350-500 for the second (with a possible 30-day suspension) and if they get three offenses within 36 months they flat out lose their license.
Under a plan the TLC is proposing, which will need to be approved by the City Council, a first offense will soon cost $500 and a second will cost $750 with a 30-day suspension if it is the second offense in 24 months. The penalty for a third offense would remain the same. We think this is a great idea.
Meanwhile, the TLC is still soliciting opinions on how they will implement Bloomberg's proposal to allow street hailing of livery cabs in outer boroughs—where you are lucky to see a real taxi since they often refuse to go there in the first place!