Saturday, March 13, 2010

NYC Cabbies Took Passengers for Millions

Can you believe it?? It seems New York's Cabbies -- those drivers of the golden NYC icon that I love and adore -- have been bilking passengers out of millions of dollars, according to the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

Here are the scheme involved a switch that cabbies flipped on their meters, charging riders pricier out-of-city rates for in-city rides. Here are the stats:
  • It involved at least 1.8 million rides (albeit a teeny portion of the total 360 million rides given)
  • Passengers were ripped off to the tune of $8.3 million
  • Each ride was overcharged by $4 or $5
  • These rides took place over 26 months
But here's what really catches my eye:
  • 36,000 cabbies flipped this switch at least once

What's amazing is that, last time I checked, there were about 48,000 total licensed cab drivers in the city. That means that A FULL 75% OF CABBIES HAVE CHEATED THEIR PASSENGER. And while the empathetic person in me thinks, well I hope that passenger was a real dick and that they deserved it, another part of my thinks, cabbies, you suck.

Granted, only 3,000 did this regularly, but still.

Want to know how this scheme was investigated and solved? Read the article.

Too lazy to read? I'll give you a quick summary. A passenger complained; the TLC checked back records of the infamous GPS system.

The taxi industry denies the claims, on the point that 75% of drivers wouldn't have done this, and that the meter must somehow be at fault.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Seeking Taxi Driver Opera Singer

Dear Astute Readers,
Once again, I'm calling on you to help me locate a cab driver. He's a cabbie opera singer, and a friend of mine was in his cab last November, told me about him, and gave me his number -- I think it had a Jersey area code?

Anyway, I clearly lost his number.

So if you know a cabbie opera singer, let me know ASAP (

And if you are a cabbie opera singer, send me a line! Trust me -- it'll be worth it. Especially if you met my friend Sarah while driving last November, and she complimented you on the music you were playing in the cab (opera), and you said that it was you singing it.

If you need me to further jog your memory, Sarah's a hot redhead. And she called me while in the cab with you.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cab Sharing

That's right -- New Yorkers who can't seem to share anything -- except angst and a bit of grit -- are officially sharing cabs as of a week ago.

So far, no fatalities have been reported.

The impetus? Cash, of course! (Thank you economic meltdown.) Shared cab rides cost $3 or $4 a head, at least half as much as the full fare from uptown to midtown.

Astute readers of Taxi Confidential will note that one of the stories involves a shared cab ride from the 1960s, early 70s or so. If you haven't read it, get on it -- the piece involves a drunk, my dad (in town from Ohio) and an angry cabbie and some Christmas lights. What could go wrong?

And, just to be clear, it's not that New Yorkers can't share. I just had a guy working at Starbucks give me a cup of coffee on the house, and it made my day. It's just that there's so little personal space in this town, people can get a little tense when you yank some away.