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City Council Passes Bill to Make Taxi Fare Refusal Worthy of a Fine

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Taxi, cab, taxi cab (Karly Domb Sadof/WNYC)

Taxi drivers who refuse to take fares to the outer boroughs may soon find themselves paying hefty fines or even having their license revoked.

The City Council passed a bill Wednesday increasing penalties up to $500 on a first offense and up to $1,000 on the second if its within two years. A third offense could be grounds to lose a license for 30-days.

David Pollak, executive director of the committee for Taxi Safety, is in favor of the legislation and said he thinks expereinced drivers know, 'You win a few and you loose a few.'

But Bhairavi Desai with the Taxi Workers Alliance said fare refusals are an economic issue and the focus should be on wage increases for drivers and alternatives like rush-hour group rides.

"When they (drivers) complete these fares, you know they take a hit," she said, "especially when you pay for high gas prices and a high lease."

The bill heads to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is expected to sign it. It would go into effect immediately.

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