Cabbies taking you for a ride… You bet they are

Next time you get into a NYC taxi, pay close attention to your fare. There may be a bit of sleight-of-hand happening to that fare box. And not in our favor.

While we have many hardworking, honest taxi drivers, apparently there are enough scammers to give the good guys a bad name. Over $8,000,000 in overcharges! That’s nearly a dollar overcharged per person for the entire population of New York City.

Remember cabbies, as passengers, we’re seated behind you. Watch your back.

Cabbies Gouge Passengers Out of Millions, Agency Finds
NYTimes City Room :: March 12, 2010

By Andy Newman

For the past two years, thousands of taxi drivers overcharged passengers a total of more than $8 million by switching the meter to double the rate, the Taxi and Limousine Commission said Friday afternoon.

Using G.P.S. technology installed in cabs, the commission discovered more than 1.8 million trips where passengers were charged the higher rate. The total amount of the overcharge was $8,330,155, or an average of $4.45 per trip, the agency said.

The agency said that drivers manually switched the meter from the standard rate of 40 cents per fifth of a mile to the 80-cents-per-fifth-of-a-mile rate that cabbies are allowed to charge in Westchester and Nassau Counties, but not in New York City.

To combat the overcharges, the commission said that within two weeks, a system would be installed in all taxis that would post an alert on the back-seat television screen when the meter is switched to the higher rate code. The alert would stay on the screen until the passenger acknowledged it.

The scam was primarily perpetrated by a small number of drivers, with 3,000 of them overcharging more than 100 times, the agency said.

While the 1.8 million overcharged trips is a large number, it represents only 0.5 percent of the 361 million taxi trips taken during the 26-month period the agency studied.

A single cabby was accused this month of overcharging passengers a total of $40,000.

The commission has referred the overcharges to the Department of Investigation.

Photoillustration: © 2010 Janet Giampietro

One Response to “Cabbies taking you for a ride… You bet they are”

  1. Raja Says:

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