NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — To the two passengers, it seemed like the taxi ride from hell – when all they wanted was to go to Brooklyn.
It was Sunday afternoon in Midtown when two 31-year-old women say they got into a taxi and told the driver to take them to Bedford-Stuyvesant. According to the passengers, that’s when the driver went berserk, screaming at them and driving erratically.
One of the passengers reportedly whipped out her cell phone and videotaped the driver lunging at them.
One woman is heard screaming “Don’t touch us! You have to go to Brooklyn!”
Eventually, the cab driver found another cab to take them to Brooklyn.
“Well sir, we are definitely going to report this!” one woman is heard screaming.
Other taxi riders who saw the video on Tuesday were shocked.
“I think it’s outrageous that the taxi driver acted that way. I’ve actually had similar experience,” said Chris Rooney of Staten Island.
TLC Commissioner David Yassky agreed with those sentiments, telling 1010 WINS the driver’s behavior was “totally unacceptable, totally out of line and just beyond the pale.”
“The rules are that taxi passengers are entitled to go to any destination in all five boroughs,” Yassky said. “If you have the taxi driver license, it’s one of the conditions of having that license and we mean to enforce compliance.”
Yassky admitted that he could understand why drivers “want to spend their entire shift cruising in Manhattan” because of the high demand. However, he said that taxis unwilling to take passengers to the outer boroughs was a “continuing problem.”
“Certainly a taxi driver is not licensed to lunge,” added Marian Mishkin of the Upper East Side.
The video even shocked some fellow taxi drivers. Two cabbies Hickey spoke with said they would never act like that.
“No, no, not me. [I always go] everywhere in Brooklyn,” Yves Bazile said.
“I’ve been driving since 1986. I don’t think i would ever do anything like that,” added Marcel Gelin.
Just last week, the TLC asked the City Council to stiffen fines against drivers who refuse to take passengers to the outer boroughs. Right now, it takes a third offense within three years for a driver to lose his hack license.
The TLC identified the driver as Paul Efobi, but the Queens company the TLC said he drives for said they do not know of this driver or the incident.
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