Fines, Bans May Be In Store For Drivers Who Refuse FaresBy Marcia Kramer

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.

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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?”

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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

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Marcia Kramer