It’s the law: A yellow New York City taxi that is available for hire has to take you to any destination you request within the city.
Of course, that’s not always how it works in practice. In June, I flagged down a cabbie in the East Village. He locked his doors and demanded to know my destination before I got in. I told him I wanted to go to Queens. He drove off.
I may also have shouted “I’m going to call the TLC!” while gripping the door handle of an accelerating Ford Escape.
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) June 22, 2013
I made good on my threat, and I got results: The Taxi and Limousine Commission notified me by email this morning that the driver who jilted me has pleaded guilty to refusing a fare.
A TLC representative informed me that the driver’s penalty was a $US100 fine, which seems fair. Had he pleaded not guilty, there would have been a hearing, which I was kind of excited to attend and write about. But I’ll take this outcome, too.
The best part is, the process was really easy. I didn’t actually call the TLC because you can make a complaint online. Then, a city employee will call you to gather information ab0ut your claim. The city will notify the cabbie, and either he will plead guilty, or they’ll schedule a hearing, where you can testify in writing or in person. (If you’re not a journalist looking for fodder, you’ll probably want the in-writing option.)
If more passengers file complaints, cabbies will be less inclined to break the law.
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