Hack Job III: Ways to defeat the off-duty, “Where you going?” scam

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(New York, NY) Since PIX11 found countless examples of the off-duty “where you going?” scam during its year-long examination of cab drivers who abuse, Part III of Hack Job focuses on information New Yorkers should know. It comes in four parts.

[I] The Rule: cab drivers during changeover or shift-change are allowed a “going my way” option – to ask passengers for example “I’m going to [location] to changeover my cab, if you’re going that way I’ll take you.” But according to the TLC, it is illegal for them to ask you “where are you going?” first. It implies they are picking their passengers and not truly on-duty.

Taxi

But according to the TLC, it is illegal for them to ask you “where are you going?” first. It implies they are picking their passengers and not truly on-duty.

[2] Take Action: if you believe a cab driver who turns you down was not actually off-duty, get the medallion number, call 3-1-1 and file a complaint. The TLC has beefed up its staff in recent years to handle such complaints. Those who file the complaint can testify by phone – a process that can take less than 5 to 10 minutes.

Off Duty

Take Action: if you believe a cab driver who turns you down was not actually off-duty, get the medallion number, call 3-1-1 and file a complaint.

[3] App-bout Time: the TLC is looking to allow livery hailing-apps (Uber, Hailo) to include taxis. The livery industry has gone to court to stop the move, fearing it will take income away from livery drivers. The issue may be decided in court in the coming weeks.

Taxi Cab Fight

The TLC will increase the login time for the driver so the light will be harder to manipulate for the purposes of the current “where you going?” game.

[4] New Lights, Less Confusion? By May all cabs will convert into a new light system without the off-duty option. The light above a taxi will either be on, indicating on-duty, or off. The TLC will increase the login time for the driver so the light will be harder to manipulate for the purposes of the current “where you going?” game.

5 comments

  • Girly Cabbie

    At least on this last installment, they showed a driver who doesn't care for the dirty tactics of some of the drivers. And lots of other drivers, including myself agree. There are certainly dishonest drivers, but there are many more honest ones, and we do not subscribe to the belief that you have to cheat to make a living doing this. Because you don't. Yes, I wish the bad drivers would see that, but I also wish that more people would see that there are plenty of good drivers out there. Unfortunately most people don't remember good service. They only remember the bad, and usually only tell other people about the bad.

    As for the changing of the roof lights, I am skeptical. In theory it should make it harder for the crooked drivers to get away with being crooked, but the ones who are really determined will find a way. And it does pose issues for drivers who use the lights appropriately during shift changes. So we will see. Honestly, I think its a band aid when we really need stitches to fix the problem. The TLC sees this as an easy fix so instead of putting in the work to actually seek out and penalize the bad drivers, they invent a new policy which just makes things difficult on the honest driver.

    The only good thing I have to say about this whole thing is at least in this last installment(and It should have been in all three!) the reporter finally shows that we are not ALL crooks out to get the people of New York. Small consolation, but as cab drivers, I guess that's what we are used to.

  • Tony

    Since you took a year ‘investigating’ this, why didn’t you take a week or two to actually drive a cab? Perhaps then you wouldn’t be so callous as to call it a ‘scam.’ What exactly would you do if keeping your job depended on returning a car on time every day, while trying to make a decent living, which involves trips during rush hour and the accompanying extra $1 per trip. Do you think it’s a joke to have someone request a JFK at 3:30? If your garage is in Manhattan, good luck with that one. So, you see, it’s a difficult position for the cab driver. Have a little more respect next time you feel like demonizing a group of hard working people for ratings.

  • @#%&!

    It is not fair to the driver when this guy call in a complain and fined the driver, how can TLC tell the person call in for complaint were not drunk at the time of refusal? can he proof it? what happen to impartial justice in america? " All person are innocent until proven guilty"

    • tasha

      you sound like a taxi driver lol. you guys are something else , a bunch of cowards if you ask me refusing potential customers because your scared to go to a certain borough but cry about a rise in pay. a pay that isnt deserved.

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