After a taxi driver not only refused to take a group of passengers to the Bronx over the weekend but then ran them over, the city is making a concerted effort to increase awareness of the fact that hacks are required by law to take you to your destination. Even if it is in the Bronx. In addition to fast tracking plans to increase the fines for refusing fares they even went so far as to make a YouTube video of bad taxi drivers in action (below).
In a press conference today Mayor Bloomberg said “we are a city of five boroughs—and 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." The number of denial of service complaints (aside: nice to see denial of service in a non-tech story) has been on the rise the past few years. Between July 2009 and February 2010 the TLC had 2,128 complaints versus 2,887 in the same period between 2010 and 2011.
Our biggest tip for getting a cab to go where they are supposed to take you is to get in the cab before you tell the driver where you are headed. If he refuses you service call 311 from inside the cab. Right now a driver who refuses a fare is fined $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 lose their license.
The video below is of a TLC "secret shopper" looking out for violations. According to the agency it recently "enhanced its illegal service refusal enforcement efforts by partnering with Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs and deploying students as secret shoppers in the evening and nighttime. The students receive training and are supervised."
According to the TLC, the cabbie who refuses the man service to Queens in the video already had two citations for illegal refusal. If his latest summons holds up his license will be revoked.