NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s a new push to curb drivers ripping off people who need rides.
In an undercover investigation last year, CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer exposed fake cabbies and phony Uber drivers at LaGuardia Airport.
Now, CBS2 has learned that City Council is about to take action.
They’re aggressive hustlers whose only goal is to take unsuspecting passengers on a ride, but Councilman Dan Garodnick (D-4th) says his goal is to give them a ticket to ride.
Big fat tickets to ride that, he hopes, are a fast track to oblivion.
“The bad actors, they just got to go,” Garodnick said. “For these guys who are scamming tourists and New Yorkers, yes, we want to put them out of business.”
The Democratic councilman introduced the crackdown legislation following last year’s investigation that found lots of apparently fake Uber drivers scamming passengers at the local airports.
Officials say it happens thousands of times a week.
CBS2 undercover cameras discovered the hucksters not only grossly overcharging, but they often added a phony sales tax. One particular receipt says it’s ten percent, further inflating their take to close to $100.
It’s a classic case of highway robbery, because the average ride into Manhattan is only $40.
“There are many opportunities for scams and we’re seeing it everyday in New York City,” Garodnick said.
The proposed legislation cracks down on the fake drivers as well as the licensed drivers who do illegal street hails.
There’s a fine of up to $7,000 for drivers who misrepresent themselves.
“It’s not just going to be a slap on the wrist anymore,” Garodnick said. “We’re now going to get these guys out of business.”
Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Meera Joshi is thrilled with the proposed new laws.
“These people are preying on unwitting passengers putting them at risk,” she said. “It really focuses on those people who are taking an Uber logo and slapping it on their car and pretending undercover of that brand that they’re operating legally.”
A spokesperson for Uber said the company is reviewing the legislation, pointing out that rides from illegal scammers not only hurt drivers who follow the rules but passengers who lack consumer protections.
The Taxi and Limousine Commision wants to expand a plan to confiscate cars and put them up for auction.