Hack job part II: TLC crackdown with a special guest

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(New York, NY) “I’m going to Park Slope Brooklyn.. you won’t take me?!” is what the microphone picked up 30 meters from a man, dressed in a suit on a corner at 5th Avenue and 44th street at 6pm on a Tuesday. The cab driver refused to take the passenger and tried to drive off.

Only the man asking to go to Brooklyn was the Commissioner of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, David Yassky. And what was actually going down, was a sting. In 2012, the TLC conducted more than two thousand ‘refusal tests,’ going on to issue 362 refusal summonses. However the numbers are translated – within a short span, Commissioner Yassky himself found 2 cab drivers who appeared to be refusing to operate legitimately.

David Yasky

Only the man asking to go to Brooklyn was the Commissioner of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, David Yassky.

The fines are stiff, some $350 for the infraction. Yet, as a PIX11 investigation found, on some nights illegal practices are used by cab drivers to pick and choose their customers. The practice is emboldened with the use of their ‘off-duty’ light while asking “where you going?” Drivers tell PIX11 that the unethical are willing to use the off duty light, hoping it will create enough doubt in the mind of passengers so they do not consider filing the incident with 3-1-1.

TaxiStopped

There are some 50,000 licensed cab drivers in New York City, the vast majority of them operating legitimately. And the TLC permits a ‘going my way?’ questioned being used during changeover for cabs – normally between 4p-5p, then again from 4a-5a. According to Yassky, drivers who ask “where you going?” are breaking the rule already, since it indicates the driver is picking the ride (also called, cherry-picking). “If a driver asks you where you’re going and refuses to take you and you suspect he’s not truly off-duty,” advised Yassky, “call 3-1-1, and we will follow up and see if the driver was truly off-duty, and if he wasn’t – we’ll take action against that driver.”

 

14 comments

  • @#%&!

    those dishonest cab driver should have their license revoke for good. penalty is only fatten up TLC. next, TLC need to be more clear on the meter, spell put MTA charges and surcharge, when they put extras on that meter, people would think it is extras for the taxi driver….

  • Cab Driver

    Try being a taxi driver. Then u will understand why they act like that. U drive 12 hours a day with rude people behind u. U will act the same way. Why didnt they say the driver has to pay $150 a day to rent the car.

    • Andy

      Thats the JOB they signrd up for, if paying for the car, or doing there job is too hard on them, they should find something else to do in life

      • LIGHTRAZE

        Andy, I wonder if you are a TLC worker. I have no sympathy for taxi drivers who put on their off duty lights as described. I never do it but if you think this is corruption, you should learn about what the TLC, Oath, NYPD, and DMV judges are doing to cabbies. It is outright government terrorism. Absolutely horrifying! What has been going on in this current administration is so shocking that no one will ever have the courage to put it on the media while Bloomberg controls the media as he does and remains in office. Again, no sympathy for dishonest cabbies!!!!

  • Girly Cabbie

    Once again, another one sided part of the story. Why would they show the drivers who DO take you out to Brooklyn? Because that makes this a less sensational story. And any part of this situation should not be news to Yassky. He is supposed to be the head honcho at the TLC but seems to have no idea what goes on. Instead he just spends his time working against us, making things harder for the honest drivers and pretends that nothing in this system is broken.

    Again, all these stories do is vilify an entire industry because of the actions of a few bad apples.

    And a note to potential taxi passengers: If you don't want to give the cabbie the opportunity to pull away from you and deny your trip, GET IN THE CAR BEFORE YOU TELL THEM WHERE YOU ARE GOING!!! The minute you ask them to take you to a destination without being in the car, is the minute you give a dishonest driver the chance to speed away from you. But hey, it often works out to my advantage because I'll pull up and take you wherever.

    • Guest

      Plenty of times I've taken a cab and done this the doors are locked. They only open them after you tell them where you are going and that's if they agree to take you. I've enough bad experiences with cabbies because they didn't want to take me somewhere I needed to go. And on a few occasions, I'm sure the reason being because my husband is black, they have skipped over us and picked up the white person also trying to catch a cab on the next corner over. Don't know why race isn't mentioned in this article because that is a big thing that occurs all the time. I hear it from friends and have witnessed it plenty of times in the street.

      • Girly Cabbie

        Sure, maybe sometimes the doors are locked with the crooked drivers, but I cannot tell you how many times as a driver I have people just come up to my window to ask me to take them somewhere without them even TRYING to open the door. I always tell them get in, THEN tell me where they want to go. It's like people WANT to be turned down sometimes so they can tell their friends how "Oh my gosh! The cab driver just WOULDN'T take me to Brooklyn!"

        Look, I am not saying it doesn't happen. Nobody is. I am not saying there aren't dishonest drivers out there. There are. And they make me angry too. They are the ones out there making it harder for the rest of us who actually take pride in our jobs. Yes. That's right. There are lots of us who take pride in the fact that we are part of the NYC taxi fleet. It's an awesome gig if you can embrace it. You can meet amazing people from all over the world and see parts of the city that, even growing up here, you may never see. But the drivers who take pride in our jobs, follow the rules and don't break the laws aren't always the ones who are remembered, or the ones who are represented in any news story. And instead of acknowledging the fact that there are the good drivers out there, this story only highlights the bad ones, but makes it seem like we are ALL the bad ones.

        It is sensationalist, selective, and honestly, just BAD journalism.

  • Guest

    Yellow Taxi cab drivers should require five years experience of driving a car before having a chance to take the test the get a Hack license

    • Guest

      It's just another way of TLC making money… More Hack license = more money TLC makes every year. In reality they are putting passengers and other drivers at risk of getting into accident.

  • Arthur

    This was a one year investigation by the reporter and he found two drivers that would not drive to Brooklyn during rush hour? WOW!
    On a scale with major national stories….what a joke

  • I told you so

    Wow, dishonest cab drivers in NYC, I don't believe it. Must be their upbringing or original lifestyle in wherever they came from. When you drive a cab in NYC, basically you represent America. When tourists come here and don't know much about NY, their first line of information is a cab driver. Why give them a bad vibe about NYC? Keep doing what you are doing and you will always complain how TLC is raping you, and how you can't make a dime. GIRLY CABBIE keep up the good and honest work and try to pursade others to be honest too.

  • Dane Clayton

    Why is there not the same amount of taxi stands in Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx like Manhattan? 300+?

    • Girly Cabbie

      probably because there isn't the demand for them. In Manhattan,the stands are located in busy tourist locations, by major transportation hubs and by hotels. These things just aren't as common in the outer boroughs(although, the new Barclays center should have one). Also, just because a taxi stand exists, it doesn't mean it will be used. There is no way to make yellow cab drivers to sit in a stand in Queens when they could be driving back into Manhattan to pick up a fare much quicker. And putting a taxi stand in place takes away parking spaces which can be precious in most neighborhoods.

      As for Staten Island, good luck! Taxi drivers almost NEVER get a fare there. In the time I have been driving, I have not been once. And I don;t know many other drivers who have. So putting a taxi stand in Staten Island would do NOTHING.

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