Yassky Catches Deadbeat Cabbies in the Actsky

Brooklyn Heights resident/NYC TLC Commish David “Oh come on, it’s just over the bridge” Yassky has struck a blow at cabbies refusing fares to the Outer Boroughs.

The NY Daily News reports that the TLC used college students to “sting” cabbies who deny passengers their right to a ride home in Brooklyn and the other boroughs.

Have cabbies refused you a ride to Brooklyn? We’ve had that problem many times, especially last year when 5 cabbies in a row refused to take a very pregnant Mrs. Fink back to the Heights.

NY Daily News: Since September, the students have hailed 1,330 cabs and were refused 361 rides, or 27% of the time. Similar undercover enforcement by TLC agents indicated drivers were breaking the go-anywhere rule just 4% of the time, authorities said.

“Our rules are crystal clear: a taxi passenger is entitled to go to any of the five boroughs,” TLC Chairman David Yassky said. “Our enforcement initiative is designed to make sure drivers understand that there will be a penalty for refusing service. ”

Biju Mathew, of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, called the refusal rate ridiculously high and said the enforcement effort — relying on lightly trained college kids — was fatally flawed.

While refusal rates to the Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx ranged between 15% and 63% during different time periods, cabbies never turned down trips to northern Manhattan in the morning and evening. There’s no logical explanation for that, Mathew said.

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  • Publius

    I wonder if Yassky also finds it near impossible to get a cab from Manhattan to Brooklyn during rush hour. IMHO, his #1 priority should be to end this disgrace.

  • BH’er

    How do cabbies refuse a ride to BK? Why don’t you get in the cab and then tell him where you’re going? If he refuses, possession is 9/10ths of the law and calling the TLC from the backseat is usually a compelling argument

    A few nights back on Montague, an irate cabbie followed a young couple out of his cab after they refused to pay his flat rate! He didn’t turn his meter on, so they refused to pay him. He was cursing like a sailor at full volume at close to midnight and was literally getting chest to chest with the guy passenger. He was blocking two other cabs trying to get by, too! Crazy scene, but what are cabbies thinking?

  • RemsenGal

    I agree with BH’er…. I get in first, then I tell the cabbie where I’m going. You have to simply refuse to let the negotiations begin. When cabbies bark, “Where you goin?” at me through the passenger window, I look the other direction and reach for the door handle. I get in and put my bag down before I say BK Heights.

    The only time my method hasn’t worked is evenings in midtown east, when cabbies pull that crap with their “off-duty” sign… Jumping into one of those cabs got me kicked out once, lol. Oh well. It’s a jungle out there.

  • someone

    Yasky should also check into the JFK – Manhattan flat fare and see if this is really whats being charged. An unsuspecting foreign friend of mine paid over $70 the other day. Unfortunately he didnt have the receipt for the ride, otherwise I would have gladly reported that cabbie. Something tells me that is not a single event.

  • Willy

    I have not been refused a ride from Manhattan to BK Heights, but I have been “manipulated” into getting out.

    Recently, my wife and I got in a cab, and when we told the driver our destination, he told us his brakes didn’t work well enough to get us to Brooklyn.

    My wife told him to “Just drive” and that she didn’t care. For the next two blocks, though, he pumped his brakes furiously, complaining about his faulty brakes. Finally, we just got out.

    Marvelously, a friend drove by just then in a town car, and we got a free ride home! Good karma!

  • http://brooklynheightsblog Middagh Man

    Even when you’re already inside the cab, there are still some drivers who won’t take you to Bklyn. After my ranting about the TLC and his legal obligation, if the driver still refuses to go there, I like to utilize a response suggested by a friend visiting from Minnesota years ago. I just exit the cab via the passenger-side rear door- leaving it wide open. Then the drivers’ rant begins.

    It doesn’t change anything, yet it is remarkably satisfying. Try it!

  • epc

    I get refused about one out of every twenty rides or so. I take a picture of the medallion number (which also locks in the time & GPS location, handy evidence for the TLC tribunal). Whether I file a complaint with the TLC depends on how long I have to wait for another cab to come by and my general mood.

    I’ve only been to one tribunal (out of maybe a dozen complaints). They don’t warn you that you’ll literally be sitting next to the driver in the hearing. I introduced the photo I took with the date/time info and that’s all the hearing officer needed to fine the driver.

  • here

    Midagh man… good idea

  • Neil

    I remember being astonished, back when I was about six or seven (mid-1950s), at my mother’s response when a cabbie told her he couldn’t take us to Manhattan (from the Heights) after we got in.

    In only a very slightly exasperated voice, my mother said, after pulling pen and paper from her purse,”Okay, just a second while I copy your name and license number”.

    I can’t remember whether or not she gave him a tip upon reaching our destination.

  • E

    As an 8-year Heights resident, I am no stranger to being refused by a cabbie (or of the technique to get in the car first, talk second.)

    Howeer, the latest Friday/Saturday night practice for cabbies on the Lower East Side is to lock passengers out of the cab until they know where they want to go. It’s infuriating and dangerous.

  • Knight

    @ BH’er: I work near Wall Street. Many/most times a cab driver will ask where I’m going through a rolled-down window before even letting me in the cab. When they do that, I know they won’t take me to the Heights and just tell them to GTF away from me (so other cabbies won’t see them rejecting me). It has gotten better in recent months but depending on the ratio of cabs to people hailing them it’s still a real issue.

  • Jorale-man

    I rarely take cabs but when I do (i.e. coming from the airport) I’m always surprised that cabbies need directions on how to get to BH. It’s clear they don’t come here much. Maybe they’re being difficult or maybe it’s because we have so many subway options and residents here don’t need cabs generally. I can’t imagine how living in Park Slope or Prospect Heights must be.

  • David on Middagh

    Jorale-man, last Friday I was whisked away from LaGuardia by a young cabbie who took obvious pleasure in knowing just where he was going and how fast he could burn up the expressway (75 m.p.h. in sparse traffic). I would have tipped him even a bit more, but I didn’t want to encourage that kind of nuttiness.

  • Jorale-man

    @David – that’s funny. That’s happened to me once or twice too, where the cabbie will even mention a couple streets in the area to show they know the territory.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/13189502@N02/ Eddyenergizer

    I have been dealing with cabbies “No Brooklyn” nonsense for close to 35 years…
    Here are a couple of pointers:
    As stated above, get it first then give your destination. If they refuse to take you, Do Not Get Out, tell them “okay then we can go to 40 Rector St.” (the address of the TLC), that usually does the trick. If not, take your phone and tell them your taking a video of their refusal and are now calling 311.
    The same technique works for cabbies pulling the locked door/off duty/asking where your going, routine. Have your phone out when you hail the cab and tell them you are recording everything. It works even if your phone does not record video, they have no way of knowing.
    So far those techniques have worked almost every tim in several dozen refusal attempts. The couple of times it didn’t, I followed through with my threat and filed a complaint with the TLC, Both incidents went to a tribunal and both drivers were heavily fined.

  • eg

    I was given a different answer last month. The cabbie said he had to go to his mosque to pray (5x/day) and wouldn’t disobey the religious obligation.

    The 4-5 shift change is still a problem for me. I had to use a limousine service offered by a doorman ($40). I did get reimbursed but I wouldn’t tip. Sometimes, with almost tears in their eyes, they report a $50 penalty if not back on time…

    Who really knows!

  • Mr T

    Now days, every driver leases the cab for 12-hours. The shift changes between 4 and 5. The cab owner will fine the driver who brings the cab in late. The late driver is taking time and money away from the next driver. Time is money.

    Yassky is a chump.