The Manhattan DA's office is currently preparing criminal cases against cabbies who wrongly charged passengers out-of-town rates. A TLC analysis shows the scam wasn't as widespread as initially thought, with only 21,819 drivers shown to have overcharged passengers at some point, rather than the initial projection of 35,000 drivers. The DA is looking only to take down the "worst offenders" who used the higher rates as a source of income, and is moving to revoke the licenses of 663 drivers who wrongly charged passengers over 50 times each. TLC head David Yassky told the Wall Street Journal, "I don't want to start the hearing unless I'm confident that the driver deserves to have his or her license revoked."
However, Yassky still insists the cabbies are still a trustworthy bunch. He told the Daily News, "It would be unfortunate if New Yorkers took from this episode most drivers are dishonest. That's simply not true." A recent study did show that most cabbies were honest with one passenger, telling her her requested destination was walking distance away, or not charging her for the short ride. The TLC analysis also showed many cabbies accidentally pushed the wrong rate button at the end of a trip, and didn't actually charge passengers any more.
Bhairavi Desai, the executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, agreed with Yassky, saying, "Any driver who depends on their hack license for a living, to earn a steady living, and plans to be at this job for the foreseeable future, they don't take the risk." As well as the revocations, the TLC will fine 1,671 cabbies who scammed passengers 10 to 49 times. Of the nearly 22,000 drivers, 13,315 only charged the wrong rates once or twice in the span of two years.