All Hail The NYC Cabbies: They Must Pick You Up Now
If you've ever hailed a cab in New York City during rush hour or really late at night where all you want to do is close your eyes and be in your bed under the covers when you open them, then you know how hard it can be. And to make matters worse, when taxi pickings are slim, the drivers turn the whole game into a damn mini people's choice awards.
For instance... picture it: Lower west side, Manhattan. 3:45am. You're just coming out of a club (they extended happy hour – give me a break!). You throw your tired hand up and hail a cab. It pulls right over. Well, that was easy. But wait, the driver is trying to ask you something before you get cozy in the backseat. “Where you going?” the cabbie says. “Huh?” you reply. “Where to!?” he snaps back. “Bay Ridge.” And with that, the driver looks at you as if you're a leper that just propositioned him sexually and says, “No!” He then speeds away leaving you pissed in the middle of a dark street where cobblestones have begun to wear through the pavement due to years of automotive abuse. All because the guy is too lazy to drive to Brooklyn even though he is required to take you to any commutable spot in the five boroughs.
All that is changing now according to the new Taxi and Limousine Commission rules and regulations. The New York Post broke down the current and proposed penalty schedule as follows: As of now, “a driver convicted of a refusal gets slapped with a fine of $200-$350 for a first offense, and $350-$500 and a possible 30-day license suspension for a second offense. The new penalties would be $500 for a first offense, and $750 and a 30-day suspension for a second offense within 24 months. Penalties for a third strike won't change - if convicted within 36 months would remain mandatory TLC license revocation.” These changes do still need to be approved by the City Council before officially taking effect.
Though the TLC does random checks on drivers, due to the overwhelming ratio of passengers to drivers, it remains incumbent upon the passenger to dial the city's 311 phone number and report the driver if they want them to get caught. Think about how many thousands of pick-ups and drop-offs the TLC has per day. A cabbie could easily go years in violation before getting “pulled over.”
So in summation, transit are urging victims of the lazy ditch to take the initiative to report Ha-Feem Ku-Beem Su-Reem if you want to see this problem driven into neutral.