Taxi Passengers in New York City who couldn’t believe how much their fare was may have been on to something—the Taxi and Limousine Commission revealed this past week that close to 36,000 yellow taxicabs in the city overcharged passengers by about $8.3 million over the past two years. That’s roughly three quarters of all yellow cab drivers, if you were wondering. Approximately 3,000 of those drivers overcharged passengers more than 100 times. All in all, about 1.8 million passengers were overcharged. How? The drivers switched their meters to higher out-of-town rates that should only apply outside the five boroughs. That means that rates for 1/5 mile doubled from 40 cents to 80 cents. Passengers were overcharged about five dollars per ride.
Criminal charges will in all likelihood be brought against some of the drivers, according to Mayor Bloomberg.
The New York Taxi Workers Alliance blamed the GPS meters, saying it was technological failure and that there were no witnesses. (The “no witnesses” part seems to make their case a little shaky, no? And by the way, the dog ate my homework.)
The TLC actually made the discovery using the GPS technology.
A number of cab drivers came forward to say they were outraged by the scam.
Incidentally, former city councilman David Yassky will replace Matthew Daus as head of the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission. He ran (unsuccessfully) for city comptroller lat fall.
All we can say is—take public transportation when possible—and when you do take a cab, keep your eye on the meter–and on your wallet.
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