Photograph of cab driver in Times Square by nschaden on Flickr

The Taxi and Limousine Commission has announced that it and the NYPD will be embarking on an undercover program to crackdown on bad cabbie behavior. Cabbies are supposed to let passengers pay with credit cards, not to mention not be rude and chatting on a cell phone during the ride, but the TLC says they hear otherwise.

The program is named "Operation Secret Rider" (ha!) and TLC Commissioner Matthew Daus says the program is to help drivers "get back to basics and remind drivers the passenger is always right. It's a service industry. The word on the street from passengers is service is good, but there are still some issues."

Offending cabbies will be fined ($150 for rudeness, cellphone chatting $200) and those who repeatedly violate the Taxi Passenger's Bill of Rights (below) - plus not allowing credit card payment - could lose their licenses. Credit card payments cost drivers a 5% surcharge, hence some drivers' claim they cannot accept plastic.


Cab passengers, how have you been finding drivers recently? All we care about is just getting to one place from the next in a quick and stress-free manner (yelling at other cars is a bummer). Last year, one taxi union organized a strike, protesting GPS technology the TLC requires in cabs (opponents say the technology is unproven). New York Taxi Workers' Alliance executive director Bhairavi Desai said of Operation Secret Rider, the TLC is "persecuting drivers" and "turning a blind eye to every problem that drivers face."