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Taxi commission investigates driver accused of telling passenger ‘I don’t drive gays’

MANHATTAN — Officials are investigating a cab driver after he allegedly told passengers he didn’t “drive gays,” a Taxi and Limousine Commission spokesman said Thursday.

Ryan Smith and a friend grabbed a taxi in Manhattan late Tuesday night, talking as they rode downtown, Smith said in a Facebook post. The driver interrupted them.

“Are you gay,” he asked, according to Smith. “Are you a gay man?”

Smith told the driver he was gay.

“I don’t drive gays,” the driver apparently told him.

Smith’s friend told the driver to pull over and let them out, he said on Facebook. She snapped a picture of the driver’s medallion so they could contact officials about what had happened later when they felt safe.

“This is NYC in the year 2018. While things have certainly gotten better for the queer community as time has progressed, I am here as a personal testament to you to say you are disillusioned if you think for one second we have attained EQUALITY as a community with our fellow HUMAN BEINGS,” Smith wrote on Facebook. “This happened in the heart of Manhattan, NY, a gay-capitol of the world… I can only imagine what goes down in less accepting areas.”

A Taxi and Limousine Commission spokesman commented on Smith’s post, encouraging him to report the driver.

“This driver’s behavior, as described, was totally egregious and unacceptable,” he said. “This is not alright….not here in NYC, and not anywhere!”

Anyone who uses a yellow taxi, Uber or Lyft and has a similar experience should report it directly to the TLC, the spokesman said.

“It is important that it be reported directly to the TLC, regardless of whether you’ve reported it to the dispatch company,” he said in a statement to PIX11.

“While an app may ‘kick’ such a driver off their platform, that’s the most they can do. That driver would still have a TLC license and could simply move to another platform. The TLC, however, is the only one that has the ability to take action, such as suspending or revoking a driver’s TLC Driver License.”