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Fare Fight: City Backtracks on Taxi Scam Allegations

Monday, March 22, 2010

The city is back-pedaling about how widespread the overcharging scam involving taxi drivers might have been. Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Matthew Daus told City Councilmembers at a budget hearing that "a fairly significant number" of the 1.8 million trips thought to have been overcharged may not actually have been problematic.

Daus says the button that activates the higher, suburban rate was pressed at the end of many of the trips, and could have been hit by mistake. The button is located right next to the button the driver pushes to end the trip.

Bhairavi Desai of the Taxi Workers Alliance says she wants the city to make amends.

"We want an apology -- not only in writing to the media. Blast it on the GPS screens!" she says.

TLC officials could not immediately say how many of the cab trips were inappropriately charged.

The TLC said earlier this month that it had discovered one of the largest taxi scams ever, in which some 35,558 of the city's 48,000 drivers overcharged their customers by activating an out of town rate on their meters.

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