Bloomberg Calls For End To Taxi Drivers’ ‘Geographic Discrimination’

Fines, Bans May Be In Store For Drivers Who Refuse Fares

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s a new crackdown underway on taxi drivers.

Newly released undercover video shows a driver denying a man a ride. Rather than go to an out-of-Manhattan address, this driver left a paying customer in the dust.

As CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reports, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is putting the brakes on fare refusals.

Bloomberg emphasizes that taxi drivers must not refuse anyone looking for a ride, 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports

“And that’s exactly what we’re talking about, geographic discrimination,” Bloomberg said.

That’s what the mayor said after so called “secret shoppers” for the Taxi and Limousine Commission shot undercover video as they hailed cabbies to take them from Manhattan to another borough. The following is what happened when one cabbie was asked to go to Liberty and Lefferts in Queens:

Driver: “Know your way? Liberty, because …”

Passenger: “I know you go over the Brooklyn Bridge.”

Driver: “You go on the Brooklyn Bridge. When you say Liberty, I don’t know Liberty.”

Passenger: “Liberty Avenue.”

Driver: “Liberty I don’t know.”

Passenger: “Do you have a map that we could follow?”

Driver: “No, no. Take somebody else.”

That’s part of a dramatic 36 percent increase in taxi service refusals in just the past six months, which is why Mayor Bloomberg is saying no more.

“Make no mistake, we are a city of five boroughs and it doesn’t matter which borough you are coming from or which borough you’re going to. If you want to hail a cab New York City cab drivers are required by law to take you to any destination in the city — period. End of story,” the mayor said.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb with Bloomberg’s stern message

The city is so upset that City Council transportation chair James Vacca, Bronx resident, said he’s introducing a bill to dramatically increase fines for not taking a passenger wherever they want to go — $500 for the first offense. And you get your taxi license revoked the third time it happens in 36 months.

“We have to look to increase the availability of yellow cab service in the outer boroughs because we are not outer boroughs. We are part of the city of New York,” Vacca said.

Drivers said it’s not discrimination, it’s economic.

“In the middle of rush hour when you count on earning back your majority expenses if you have a trip from Manhattan to the outer boroughs you’re not guaranteed a fare back,” said Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers’ Alliance.

The mayor said there are two things to remember if as driver refuses to rake you where you want to go. First, get the medallion number and, second, report it either to the Taxi and Limousine Commission or by calling 311.

The city crackdown was influenced by an alleged hit-and-run taxi driver accused of running a young man down, leaving him in coma.

Have you ever been turned down by a cab driver? Let us know below

More from Marcia Kramer
Comments

One Comment

  1. Rajendra says:

    I am cab driver not all driver r stupid.But city’s rule and regulation is not favoural for any cab driver.they work 10 to 12 hrs..they paid 105.00 dollar for daily lease how they r survive those bloody chair man must be think.Many customer insult the cab driver some time they do not want to pay.Other side cab is not a plane it needs lane when we stop for the drop off customer by the reason cab can touch cross walk meantime police are ready to write a ticket.TLC guys they never see on the strret in week days but weekend is clear no traffic but they stop cab and gives ticket.So i donot understand what kind of rule.those guy who has responsibility they must think

  2. Susan O'Brien says:

    I work at NYU Medical Center and occasionally when the weather is terrible and the buses aren’t coming, I will flag a taxi. 90% of the time, they refuse to take me to 91st and York. This is so incredibly rude.

    1. jsw says:

      this is an issue. i have had this happen to me also.

      no one is really in control of these people.
      one thing turning down brooklyn housing prject area. I agree but down to uptown, this needs to cease.

    2. Sara says:

      I work at Bellevue Hospital. Many taxi drivers see and drive past patients hailing cabs in front of Bellevue Hospital. On the rare occasion that they actually stop, as soon as they see the patient is in a wheel chair, they drive off, refusing to take the patient because they “cannot get into the car.” This is truly disgusting behavior. Someone needs to do something about it.

  3. Antonino says:

    These days, almost everyone carries a cell phone with a camera. Make a picture of the m@@##$%er or his car plates. More evidence at a hearing.

  4. Dan B says:

    Now all we need is a law to remove horns from cabs. They use them so much, no one even pays attention anyway. I have been to cities in Europe where cabs flash their brights instead of honking. Much, much better on my sanity.

  5. Gordon says:

    sometimes i can’t get these cabbies to go uptown if i’m downtown at certain times of the day ie 3-4pm. the excuse i get is that it’s a shift change and they’re all going home to BK?

  6. fed up says:

    This is an every day thing for New Yorkers. I see tourists left by a taxi speeding off after asking where they were going….. no taxi cab wants to take them. There really needs to be LESS TAXIS ON THE STREET.

  7. VT says:

    I have had to leave a cab on several occasions when after telling the Cabbie where I needed to go, they start saying that they don’t have the time and have to turn in the cab in a few minutes. It happened one day twice within an hour….cabbie told me he couldn’t go to 9th and 34th from 55th and Lex,….then another couldn’t go from Penn station to Yankee stadium…this is after hailing the cab and getting in….these clowns are rude, arrogant and nasty. Taking a cab in NYC sucks.

  8. Auburn Dale says:

    “In the middle of rush hour when you count on earning back your majority expenses if you have a trip from Manhattan to the outer boroughs you’re not guaranteed a fare back,” said Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers’ Alliance.

    That’s irrelevant. The law is the law, and the law is quite clear. If Ms. Desai advocates breaking the law, then maybe SHE and the Taxi Workers’ Alliance should also face a $500 fine.

  9. nyc says:

    LISTEN UP EVERY ONE… HERE IS SOME THING YOU SHOULD ALL KNOW…. 12 HOUR SHIFT LEASE IS $130+ $30 GAS + MTA TAX + 5% CREDIT CARD FEE + EATING A MEAL = ABOUT $190.. WHOLE DAY OF WORK IN THE CITY FOR 12 HOURS TOTAL EARNING IS $250 … WHO THE FUCK IN THE CITY MAKES $60 FOR THE WHOLE ENTIRE LABOR OF 12 HOURS THATS LOWER THEN MINIMUM WAGES…. MY POINT IS YOU TAKE A PASSANGER TO BROOKLYN OR QUEENS OR BRONX OR NEW JERSEY GUESS WHAT THAT $250 THAT U MAKING THE WHOLE ENTIRE DAY GOES DOWN TO $200 CAUSE U GET STUCK IN TRAFFIC … .PLUS 50% OF THE TIME U DONT GET TIP AND 30% OF THE TIME THE PERSON RUN AWAY … THEY TELL U I HAVE NO CASH LET ME GO UPSTAIR AND GET IT … 10% OF THE TIME YOU GET ROB….. SO FUCK U ALL… DRIVE TAXI FOR A MONTH AND U WILL KNOW ESPECIALLY MR MAYOR WHO OWNS 300 MEDALLIONS WHO GETS $840 A WEEK FROM EACH ONE … PLUS THE GIRL WITH THE DOG … WEN UR DOG SHITS IN THE CAR GUESS WHO CLEANS IT UP … CABBIE NOT U … U WALK OUT SAYING SORRY … GIVE ME UR ADDRESS SO I CAN COME AND BRING MY DOG TO DO SHIT IN UR LIVING ROOM AND THEN LEAVE WITH A SMILE SAYING OH I M SORRY …

  10. NYC LOVE says:

    LISTEN UP EVERY ONE… HERE IS SOME THING YOU SHOULD ALL KNOW…. 12 HOUR SHIFT LEASE IS $130+ $30 GAS + MTA TAX + 5% CREDIT CARD FEE + EATING A MEAL = ABOUT $190.. WHOLE DAY OF WORK IN THE CITY FOR 12 HOURS TOTAL EARNING IS $250 … WHO THE FUCK IN THE CITY MAKES $60 FOR THE WHOLE ENTIRE LABOR OF 12 HOURS THATS LOWER THEN MINIMUM WAGES…. MY POINT IS YOU TAKE A PASSANGER TO BROOKLYN OR QUEENS OR BRONX OR NEW JERSEY GUESS WHAT THAT $250 THAT U MAKING THE WHOLE ENTIRE DAY GOES DOWN TO $200 CAUSE U GET STUCK IN TRAFFIC … .PLUS 50% OF THE TIME U DONT GET TIP AND 30% OF THE TIME THE PERSON RUN AWAY … THEY TELL U I HAVE NO CASH LET ME GO UPSTAIR AND GET IT … 10% OF THE TIME YOU GET ROB….. SO FUCK U ALL… DRIVE TAXI FOR A MONTH AND U WILL KNOW ESPECIALLY MR MAYOR WHO OWNS 300 MEDALLIONS WHO GETS $840 A WEEK FROM EACH ONE … PLUS THE GIRL WITH THE DOG … WEN UR DOG SHITS IN THE CAR GUESS WHO CLEANS IT UP … CABBIE NOT U … U WALK OUT SAYING SORRY … GIVE ME UR ADDRESS SO I CAN COME AND BRING MY DOG TO DO SHIT IN UR LIVING ROOM AND THEN LEAVE WITH A SMILE SAYING OH I M SORRY …

  11. Mohammed says:

    I’m a cab driver and I always refuse fares to the outer boroughs, especially during rush hour. It’s just doesn’t make financial sense. I’ll risk the fine which I’ll get once out of every 100 times. If they want us to go to the outer boroughs the city should implement a $15 surcharge

  12. joejoe says:

    Can you really blame the cabbies if they don’t want to take the blacks up to the South Bronx?

    1. justcommenting says:

      what exactly are you implying?

  13. Taxi-User says:

    Why don’t we add more taxi to the city. Let the market forces and competition drive the buisness. That’s what free market economy is all about. Also, set the prices for taxi’s maximum fare they could charge…give them an option to lower the prices, if they are hungry for the business.

    We should support Free Market Economy Principle in product and servcices we offer to the consumers.

  14. NYC Native says:

    To anyone who lives in a part of the city other than Manhattan or at best the trendy parts of Brooklyn and Queens, this is absolutely NOT surprising and has been a long standing practice. Those of us who know this don’t even bother to try to get a Yellow Taxi to take us to our non-Manhattan destinations.

    Plan accordingly and your source of disappointment disappears. Set your expectations that the little yellow hybrid should only be for Manhattanites and they’ll surely be exceeded.

    Thanks Mayor Bloomberg for exposing the obvious. Now when can I get my street plowed?

  15. Chris Brown says:

    good evening team, some NYC CAB DRIVERS are RACIST, sometimes they have the nerve to tell you that black people don’t tip! yes, i agree; this behavior of not picking up all individuals of all races is disgusting. this has been happening for many years with cab drivers not picking up black/african american folks or going to brooklyn, uptown in harlem or the bronx. This had come to surface some years ago when Danny Glover tried to hail a cab in manhattan and the continued to drive pass him and pick up white passengers; after this incident then they (the media,mayors office) wanted to speak on this situation; but they do not do anything to change it. The newest thing that they do more often is when they see you they turn on the off duty light, once they pass you they turn it back off. Another thing that these drivers are doing is pull up to you; lock the doors and ask you through the window where you are going…that is totally against the law. Cab drivers are not allowed to pretrip you before entering the cab. Lots of folks do not follow up with reporting these jerks…copy the cab number which is displayed on the top of the cab then file a complaint with 311…LOL…like that will change anything…but give it a shot. Maybe before the next the mayors office and the TLC agents will stop this ridiculous behavior…… they should place more under cover passengers out there and impose hefty fines then medallion suspensions then license suspensions for 18 months…. this will immediately change things. you ask; when will this all end, lets focus on now! don’t take this honest comment personal, work at trying to stop this nonsense. thank you

  16. Blade says:

    This is just stupid, if they don’t wanna take u they just don’t want to, why force them to do something they don’t want to do, they pay money to rent their cars and why would they take somebody all the way to Brooklyn knowing that half of the people won’t pay you that’s just dumb .

  17. Mari says:

    Yup! I’ve been denied going to Bayside Queens several times by NYC cabbies. One guy had the audacity to tell me it wasn’t his cab but a friend’s cab he was driving. Ugh.

  18. Jackie says:

    I have been turned down MANY times trying to get from Manhattan to Brooklyn, so I learned my lesson by getting into the cab first and then telling them where I am going. I have had one cab driver refuse to move the car because he “was not going all the way to Brooklyn because he just came from there” (I was below Canal St-not that far!). I had one get on the phone and curse about having to go to Brooklyn the entire way to his friend/wife/whomever. The best one happened on Sunday, in the torential downpour: I get into the cab, see the meter on and we drive one block and all of a sudden at the red light, the cabbie says his meter isn’t working because the rain is effecting the GPS signal. I offer to pay him $30 (the same amount I spent coming into the city by car service) and he refused and made me get out to try and find another cab (it took me 15 minutes, but at least this guy was much nicer). Little do these gentlemen know, I usually tip 30%, but if you curse and complain the whole way, you lose.

    The cab drivers are discriminatory towards outer-borough riders period. It doesn’t matter what color, sex or religion they are. I am a white female who lives in Park Slope, so I don’t want to hear them complain that it is too dangerous to go to Brooklyn or the Bronx!

  19. I DON'T WANT TO DIE IN EAST NY says:

    HOMEBOY’S BE ILLIN’ IF THEY THINK A CABBY GONNA PICK DEM UP !!(NO TIP…..NO PURPOSE !!)

  20. I DON'T WANT TO DIE IN EAST NY says:

    YOU HOMEBOYS KNOW WAT I BE TALKIN BOUT !!

  21. roxy says:

    Yellow Cab drivers are like slaves with an attittude. Unlike the homeless, freebees,thieves etc, they want to make a living doing this horrible job. Most of them get sick in two years. To make any income from street, its so hard with the massive cost behind the wheel. If they work by rules they won’t even make more than food stamp receipient. Its vicious circle created by the new york city taxi and Limo commission and theirfeeders (the investors, medallion owners, the service industry like GPS makers, meeter shops, taxi garages etc)
    Hopefully, one day someone will remove the slavery : you can see from the drivers or make them talk their heart.. you will understand

  22. mindy Hunt says:

    u dont like it, dont drive a cab!

    1. justcommenting says:

      responding to minfy hunt: there it is! if you have so many complaints about driving a cab in nyc ………….dont do it!

  23. Stacey Jackson says:

    Nothing new…I live just outside of LaGuardia Airport and on rare occasions, I need to take a cab into Manhattan. The cabs won’t even stop because they think I’m going somewhere else in Queens and they would rather wait hours in queue with hundreds of other cabs in the airport for a fare to Manhattan. I have to walk into the airport to successfully get a cab.

    On occasion I’ve also been asked to get out of a cab before my destination because it was time for the Islamic driver to go pray.

  24. Ima Searcher says:

    I see:
    only comments that criticize cabbies will be posted.
    Not the comments that defend them.
    yahoo is soooo biased.

  25. Free Market Enterprise says:

    Why not add more taxi’s…like doubling number of taxi number, the market and competition will work automatically. In addition, the rate they charge should be maximum per mile…so taxi’s could charge less if they want business.

    Like we do for other products and services in the market driven economy.

  26. NY Cabs Are The Worst says:

    Yes, I had a small puppy with me. The cab stopped and then sped off as I tried to get in and sit down. He screamed “No Dog. No Dog.”

    I wanted to kick his door in as he almost made me fall down as I was almost in the car.

    1. I DON'T WANT TO DIE IN EAST NY says:

      DOGS ARE COOL! I WOULD SPEED OFF IF SOMEONE HAD A SMELLY CAT !

      1. keith says:

        actually cats a re self cleaning unlike dogs that need people to bath them or they in fact stink . you idiot.

    2. ABDUR says:

      TRY RIDING WITH A DOG IN ANOTHER CITY BEFORE YOU OPEN YOUR BIG MOUTH!!

  27. Ima Searcher says:

    Of course its frustrating for folks who want a cabride to the outer boroughs. But, putting myself in a cabbie’s shoes, they have good reasons for refusing rides:
    1 – first, they ARE out to make a living. First they have to pay the cab-owner, and then after that’s paid, the rest of the fares are theirs (as well as the government’s.) So taking someone OUT to the other boroughs, brings the likelihood that coming BACK to Manhattan means fewer pickups – less income.
    2 – There are risks going to outer boroughs – refusal to pay for the ride, and worse – cabbies become crime victims – even shot to death.
    3 – Unfortunately, more often blacks are refused rides because its mostly blacks that have killed cabbies.
    Bottom line – if assured income, and assured safety were guaranteed, more folks would be driven to the outer boroughs.

  28. Ron says:

    If you are black an live in Brooklyn as I do, you just try not to let it get to you! It has been like that for years and it has not changed. The only thing that has is the birth place of the drivers.

  29. Susan says:

    Many a time I had been refused a ride to Brookyn from Manhattan. Cabbies need to know NYC and that includes the outer boroughs. Especially since most of them live there anyway and not in Manhattan. I offer to tell the cabbies the way if they don’t know how to get to my destination.

  30. Jeff says:

    Funny,now some whites are seeing what blacks go through.They still don’t really get it though! Now it’s an issue because they can’t get to Bklyn or the Bronx’s.White’s never had to go too those area’s till they found out Blacks are payin less rent in those area’s.NOW IT”S Sooooo COOL to say they live there.

  31. Andrew says:

    I never ask i just get in and once i am inside i tell them where to go. If they say they don’t know how to get there i guide them.

  32. truthteller says:

    Black cab driver and white customer. Could’nt possibly be discrimination, only white people are guilty of that.
    The class of taxi drivers in this city is disgusting. They are rude, vulger, unkept and have no fear in telling a customer to beat it (and thats being mild).
    When I had taken the test for a hack license years ago you had to know your way around and carry a map which is only plausible for a driver.
    Like everything else in this city, it is all going to hell./

  33. Franco says:

    Yes i have been refused many times, especially at nights.

    I moved from Manhattan to Long Island City and I thought it wouldn’t be a problem for the taxi to drive me to LIC…and all they have to do is go across the Queens Bridge and I’m home.

    This article does NOT give us this info: How do we file a complaint? What information do I need from the taxi to file a complaint? (without an altercation with the driver of course).

  34. d.SOLO says:

    this is news? im a black man in new york this hAS BEEN HAPPENIng all my lifde

  35. Guy says:

    Was in Brooklyn last weekend and got turned down by 3 consecutive cabbies not wanting to bring me to another Bklyn destination (BAM). And it was close to the Manhattan Bridge, so was on their way back to the city!

  36. Michael H. says:

    PEOPLE! If these cabbies don’t want to do their job, remember the numbers on the cab and CALL 3-1-1!

    1. Arthur says:

      Cabbies will never pull over for a blind fare with a guide dog, and these people can not take down the medallion. Cab drivers hold a public license. If they don’t pick up their fares they should lose their medallion.

  37. Michael H. says:

    If a cab has his Off Duty lights on and is looking for a fare you should report them to 311.

  38. immigrant says:

    hey uptown punisher, why don’t you learn how to write in english before you start accusing people of being illegal immigrants

  39. james says:

    It’s been going on for decades…end the government monoploy..medallions and things will change..

  40. Emily says:

    I was once with my 70 year-old mother (who has limited mobility w/ Parkinsons disease) on a Thursday night. We had just gotten out of a play in mid-town and it was raining. NO CAB…out of probably 20 or so would take us back to Brooklyn. My poor mother had to ride the D train all the way home. Although we made it I felt like slapping each driver that said no and sped off…Jerks

  41. rach says:

    i don’t know how many times i was refused a ride, while waiting outside grand central station. generally i need to go to brooklyn, and the drivers refuse point blank. it’s been mentioned that because i dress like an orthodox jew (long sleeves, longer skirts… that the mostly moslem drivers feel that they’re allowed to discriminate.

    the situration is even worse every time obama comes to town (why can’t he just stay in washinton, where he belongs, and get some work done??), and when the un goes into session. those times it’s next to impossible to get a cabby willing to go to an outer boro. they’ve even told me that they don’t worry about enforcement, they view it as a joke. if the city were really serious about enforcing taxi regs, then they would have inspectors out, on the streets, every day… and they’d go to spots like grand central and the port authority… and request outer boro stops. but, they don’t. the inspectors, such as they are, stay in their cushy little offices, and never hit the streets, so they never have to actually see the violations and violators.

  42. Gregg says:

    Although I hate current nyc taxi drivers, I don’t blame them for not wanting to go to a dangerous area of NY ! It’s a jungle out there !

  43. Ronald says:

    Hate those TV in the Yellow Cabs, it distracts the driver and annoys riders. Taxi drivers work like slave mules and make money for City, TLC, NYPD, Taxi Garages, Manhattan Gas Stations and everyone at the administrative level of Taxi business takes the money. High unemployment rate in the City and US, many try being taxi drivers, but soon realize that they are working like slave mules in dangerous/stressful environment without any employment Benefits, working/living 12 hours shifts in a cab for 6 or 7 days. Try being cab driver, then you will have respect for those people. Every month Some smart people try to make working yellow Mule’s life harder.

  44. Mike says:

    @Rosemary

    this has nothing to do with knowing manhattan inside and out. its about crossing bridges and going to other neighborhoods late at night when MTA has decided that it no longer wants to take anyone anywhere anymore. i have heard plenty of stories of cabs not driving people to the bronx (where i live) and one driver specifically said it was because he would not get a fair back. this is why they stick to manhattan because if you are driving to one part most likely someone wants a ride in the opposite direction

  45. Billy says:

    I always have a problem when i want to go to Brooklyn from Manhattan. If i tell the driver before hand, 9 times out of ten they say no and drive off. Some off them will not even open their doors until you tell them your destination. It is quite annoying and discouraging.

    1. Auburn Dale says:

      If they make you specify your destination first, report them.

  46. Rosemary says:

    OMG – this has been happening for years. What New Yorkers need to do is step inside the cab and request to be driven to your destination. I especially feel bad for the tourists – it makes NY look bad because of there attitude and not wanting to drive here or there.

    NY cab drivers need to make it a point to know Manhattan inside and out.

    1. N Hall says:

      they DO know Manhattan inside and out. that’s ALL they know. they don’t know anything else – that’s the problem.

    2. Auburn Dale says:

      “NY cab drivers need to make it a point to know Manhattan inside and out.”

      Are you really suggesting that NYC is limited to Manhattan? The whole point of the story is that our fine city has FIVE boroughs, not just one.

    3. bugjackblue says:

      Knowing Manhattan is nothing. They need to know the other four boroughs.

      I drove a cab here in the early ’80s. It sucked mightily. Grueling nasty warfare around and around in circles in Manhattan; I would actually welcome a ride into Queens. I could never understand the idiot cabbies who sat at LaGuardia for hours.

      Drove a cab in LA for a while in the mid ’80s too. Much better work and more money. Traffic was absolutely nothing compared to NY, the streets were in good repair, and it was just much easier and pleasant all the way around, even kind of fun.

      NY is a hole in all regards, always was, always will be, so it’s not surprising they find cabbies breaking the law. Athough I guess it is kind of surprising that the TLC actually went out investigating it. We’ll see how long that continues…

  47. Pancho Valdez says:

    Well if cabbies must pick up all passengers, then universities should accept all applicants! Country clubs should admit all applicants! Right is right! Cab drivers are just small business people, yet the authorities never go after the big guys, the ones who have historically discriminated against people of color, the poor and others!

  48. driver says:

    If you don’t want to go out of Manhattan get another job. Nuff said.

  49. Phil cerafice says:

    why should anyone be surprised with all the arrogant foreigners driving cabs these days its no wonder why they pick and choose where there willing to go……I say boycott the taxis and use mass transit until they learn the job and improve their manners………..

  50. Rob says:

    This is one of the silliest things I’ve heard of. A taxi driver should be able to refuse a ride if he does not stand to make enough money or believes his safety is at risk. I bet you if fares were raised to go to the outer boroughs, it would not be a problem. Safety is also important. If the mayor (or police, for that matter) is not willing to go to an known unsafe community alone, then why should a cabbie?

    Cabbies make an average of $10-12/hour and are independent businessmen. They should be able to refuse a fare which is not economically feasible and which endangers their safety.

    I sometime feel cabbies are treated like crap because they belong to the lower rungs of society.

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