Peabody award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is Senior Editor for Politics & Policy for WNYC News. She has previously served as Metro Editor, Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
Taxi Talk: 50 Cent Transit Tax Hurts Tips
Monday, April 12, 2010 - 04:24 PM
New York City cabbies are iconic as the Statue of Liberty but you can hear their voices about as often as as you do the torch-bearing lady's. So it was enlightening when about 100 packed into WNYC's Greene Space performance hall to tell their stories, answer a few questions, and gripe to the new commissioner, David Yassky, who also attended.
We'll be posting the full audio and some pix of the WNYC News forum "Out from Behind the Wheel," soon, but here were a few highlights:
*Many many taxi drivers have been doing this for 15,20,30 years. Who knew?
*Many feel affronted by the question "where are you from"? Some say they've lost fares when passengers don't like the answer.
*They are REALLY upset by the 50 cent transit tax assessed on each trip as part of last year's transit bailout package. In the most emotional moment of a pretty charged forum, they said it directly cut into their tips.
One of my favorite moments, a Brooklyn-born woman hack said, when asked where she's form, she says "Where are YOU from?"