Virtual Suggestion Box for Cabbies

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

photo by Dino Abatzidis

photo by Dino Abatzidis

Is there something you’ve been meaning to ask a taxi driver -- or do you have some feedback for city officials about getting around town by yellow cab?

Please leave your questions and comments below and we’ll use them at a special event for the industry at The Greene Space on April 12.


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Comments [14]

Steve Crowell

vb asks if refusal is illegal. The TLC says it is, but they are wrong. Cab drivers are independent contractors. They pay for the cab lease, which means the fleet garage works FOR the cab driver, by providing a vehicle and maintaining it, for a fee. Nobody can compel me (as an I/C cab driver) to work if I choose not to work, at any given moment. My scheduled work hours are to be determined only by me. If I am compelled to work, any agency responsible for putting me to work, is also responsible for worker compensation . I am sure the TLC knows they don't have the authority to over-ride an I/C cab drivers' choices about when he might or might not work. And I'm sure the TLC doesn't want to be saddled with the liability that goes along with the authority to set someones' schedule. In a nutshell, if the TLC wants to excercise the authority to tell me, when I must work, they must provide WORKER COMPENSATION, and a safe workplace, because the authority to set mandatory schedules is reserved for EMPLOYERS.
The TLC is unaware of the ban on settings standards lower than federal standards, yet they still require cab owners to put illegal, unsafe, face-splattering partitions in the cabs.
The TLC SHOULD have known that their “Operation Refusal” campaign would cost $7.5 million dollars in court awarded compensation for the drivers who were frivolously, summarily and punitively put out of work, on the spot, for suspicion of something that IS rude, but is not illegal. I feel that superficial evaluation and rejection of prospective passengers can be offensive and off-putting, not to mention… costly in terms of lost revenue. If a driver declines to provide service because of skin color, let him answer to a civil court judge for that. If a driver has decided that the opportunity of a particular fare doesn’t suit his needs, that… is his business, and not anybody else’s. Unless of course the party behaving like an employer, starts accepting the other employer-responsibilities to provide Work/Comp, a safe workplace and deducts taxes or issues a tax form for the employee to use in filing income tax returns.
Concerning destinations undesirable to the driver… don’t tell the truth when you get in the cab, then announce a change of destination. When that happens to me, unless there is some VERY compelling reason to NOT go that way, I cheerfully adjust my navigation to accommodate the passenger. If my compelling reason is due to a schedule conflict (I have a life too) or fear of assault risk, I will evict the passenger. If they refuse to get out, I remove the ignition key and walk away.

Apr. 13 2010 12:27 PM

@ Emily. I also live in Brooklyn, and I usually get into the cab before I tell them I need to go to Brooklyn, because some have indeed driven off at the mention of "Brooklyn". I think it is illegal though... Is that right?

Apr. 12 2010 01:33 PM
Christine Rockwell

Do you prefer when passengers pay with cash,or do you prefer when they pay via the new credit card systems? Which method of payment encourages higher tips?

Apr. 12 2010 01:25 PM
Tamara Bart

Often in the cabbies are plugged in via their ears to their phone...the conversation isn't persistent. They often just seem to be listening to someone and will sporadically interject a yes or no or some form of acknowledgment. Who are they listening to?? A nagging wife? Ala? Buddha? Jesus Christ? Satan? Someone is whispering something in their ears and my question, who are they listening to???

Apr. 11 2010 02:00 PM

as a 40hr a week manhattan driver (not taxi or car service), it's my observation that drivers believe hands-free telephone use doesn't interfere w/ their driving. SO not true. I can tell you w/ 95% accuracy who's using the phone and who isn't simply by following them a block or two and cabbies are the biggest abusers. I propose a simple campaign: if your driver's on the phone, NO TIP.

Apr. 11 2010 09:50 AM

Is it true that it is illegal for cabbies to carry GPS units? I don't necessarily buy that excuse I have gotten, but if it is true, it isn't right. I have, more often than I wish to recall, gotten in cabbies that have NO idea where they are going or how to get where I requested, convenient for their wallets, not mine.

Apr. 10 2010 07:30 AM

Unlike in nearly all other cities I've been in, a huge proportion of cabs here operate as if they are in a competitive video game. Gunning engines at green lights (and creeping into crosswalks on the red), swerving between lanes, failing to pull over to the curb to discharge passengers even when curb space exists, and honking honking honking.

Do drivers feel that they get ahead acting in such a manner? Is there recognition that on a regular basis, this conduct costs innocent lives? And if drivers feel that they have to be so competitive in order to maximize their profits, is there any way to deincentivize such conduct?

I recently returned from Bangkok, where traffic is terrible and urban planning has failed. Yet cabs there - where an hour-long ride runs about $8 - almost never honk and though they might drive fast, they don't drive as if it was a competitive sport. Is there any way to get cab drivers to "get along"? I'd love to reduce overall traffic volumes with congestion pricing to help them out!

Apr. 09 2010 02:27 PM

I live in Brooklyn. Often, when I am in Manhattan, a cab will pull up, then ask through the window where I am going. When I say Williamsburg, they drive off. I understand they will make more money tooling around Soho or wherever, but isn't this illegal? Not to mention rude? Cabs are supposed to take you anywhere you want, within the five boroughs. Williamsburg is a lot closer than City Island! Should I just lie and say the LES, then wait until I am en route to tell them otherwise? Usually, I am tired at the end of a long day, and I just want to go home. I find this behavior very frustrating.

Apr. 09 2010 12:34 PM
Faith Ford

I still can't get a cab because of my color! I live in the city. they need to stop that

Apr. 09 2010 11:28 AM
Gus Francis

Why do you honk? Have *you* ever moved any faster because someone honked at you?

Apr. 08 2010 02:45 PM

how do cabbies feel about the TVs in the backseat? can they hear them? does it get annoying listening to them all day long? i don't take cabs that often and they annoy me, i can only imagine what it's like for them.

the companies that developed the technology should start the program on mute.

Apr. 07 2010 11:38 AM

So, how do you get around the city?

Apr. 07 2010 10:19 AM

Hello, I've often wondered why some cab drivers don't seem to know about construction, accidents or other traffic jams. Are there no longer dispatchers or other ways that drivers can alert each other to routes which they should avoid?

Apr. 06 2010 02:29 PM
samson doe

As a cabby, I HATE to be chatty with passengers and I don't do it. If a passenger is going from point A to point B in ten minutes, they should occupy their time with their electronic devices. Most of the questions I get make me feel like an exotic specimen. I have begun to say, whatever questions you have for me, you give me the answer about your own self first. For example,
Passenger Question: My father has one wife and two mistresses, how many wives does your father have?
Passenger Question: I've been in NY for a year, how long have you been in NY?
Ignorant Passenger Question: We don't have hunger, famine and wars in America. Do you have them in Africa?
Last week I got a ticket for talking while driving. I was on speakerphone trying to explain to my oldest daughter what to say when she accompany my wife to school about my son's problems. I don't see why they don't give passengers tickets who distract me with their inanities. And whoever don't want to give a tip because I don't want to be distracted or looked at as through bars, I don't care.

Apr. 06 2010 09:56 AM

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