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NYC taxis steal millions from passengers in new scam.

NYC taxis steal millions from passengers in new scam.

Mar 12th, 2010, 03:39 PM
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NYC taxis steal millions from passengers in new scam.

I hate reading these stories. If it can so easily happen here, you can imagine what goes on elsewhere. Visitors beware!

NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Mar 12th, 2010, 04:15 PM
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Well I don't know how this would work on a long ride - you would certainly notice if the fare is $25 instead of $12. And $12 instead of $6 would seem obvious too. I guess people who don;t take cabs much should look at hopstop.com to find out the approximate cost of the ride they'll be taking. (And they did say it was a small percent of cabs - your chances of getting an honest driver seem to be well over 90%).
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 12th, 2010, 05:45 PM
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NY Times home page coverage:


“The drivers’ scheme, the commission said, involved 1.8 million rides and cost passengers an average of $4 to $5 extra per trip...The city said that 35,558 out of the city’s roughly 48,000 drivers had applied the higher rate.”
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Mar 12th, 2010, 06:46 PM
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See that's why we keep telling you to take the subway!
SueNYC is offline  
Mar 13th, 2010, 04:28 AM
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I didn't even realize there WAS a metered rate for outside the city. Did you?
mclaurie is offline  
Mar 13th, 2010, 06:05 AM
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Actually - no because I'd never take a cab outside the city - re subways - if you drop your gym bag on the tracks it is really unsafe to try to retrieve it.
SueNYC is offline  
Mar 13th, 2010, 06:56 AM
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The Times allowed comments for the City Room url (the first one in this thread). Many are quite interesting and fun. Here's one from Bob:

A taxi meter in NYC has four different modes and rates.

There is an LED display on the top right of the meter that shows either 1, 2, 3, or 4.

Rate 1 is the normal rate used in the five boroughs.

Rate 2 starts the meter from $15.00 instead of $2.50 regular and used only for Newark Liberty Airport.

Rate 3 is flat rate negotiated between driver and the rider.

Rate 4 is the double meter.

That means when you get in a taxi you should normally see a red 1 on the upper right corner. If you ever see a 4 when you are inside the 5 boroughs its time to throw a fit. Who knows, your fare might end up the extra special 0 rate.
— Bob

RE: subways and backpacks

Initially, it was reported that she was 13. I was stunned to learn the women was 48. Who in their right mind would jump down to the train tracks to retrieve a dropped back pack? What could possibly be in a backpack that is worth more than your life? Very disturbing story.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Mar 13th, 2010, 07:54 AM
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I agree so I finally did a post on MetroCard.

SueNYC is offline  
Mar 13th, 2010, 02:09 PM
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And she was a successful lawyer. Single. The only stuff in the bag were her gym clothes and wallet. As the parent of a teen who travels that subway line at that time of day, this story was very, very disturbing, particularly during the early reports that the victim was a young girl. So sad and so . . . odd. Of course it prompted yet another eye-roll inducing lecture about fooling around on the subway platform and never even think about going on the tracks.
mp is offline  
Mar 13th, 2010, 05:26 PM
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What I don't understand is how the Taxi and Limousine Commission let this go on for such a long period. Don't they have inspectors who ride incognito on taxis to identify stuff like this? Apparently it isvery easy for the driver to switch rates on the meter - The TLC should have been aware of this and done the proper checking. And when the vast majority of cab drivers were doing it - it is obvious that the word got around. So everybody in the business knew it - except the TLC?
jroth is offline  
Mar 13th, 2010, 05:41 PM
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Maybe some of the taxi drivers started getting greedy and stopped paying off the TLC people? Just a guess.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Mar 13th, 2010, 06:20 PM
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And one more from Anahad O'Connor:

“The price-gouging as described by the commission was simple, but easy for riders to miss. At the start of a ride, cabbies can simply click a small button on their meters that categorizes the trip as Code No. 4, for a ride outside the city, rather than Code 1, the lower, in-city rate.

Passengers can see which rate is being charged by looking for the code number on the meter, but few riders do. The rate is also printed on every taxi receipt, something else many riders said they did not realize.”
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Mar 13th, 2010, 09:18 PM
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Oh. That is like the taxi drivers in Hanoi.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Mar 14th, 2010, 05:37 AM
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Well as a New Yorker who takes taxis all the time - at least 5 or 6 times a week - I never had a fare significantly different than I expected it to be. Perhaps drivers don;t try this on locals - or people who seem familiar with cabs. But I know what the rides I take should be and all have been in the correct range - allowing for a little more for traffic etc.

And If a driver has used the out of city rate my most frequent rides would have cost $25 instead of $12 or $13 dollars - so it would have been immediately noticeable.

Don;t know exactly how this was determine - how many trips they checked and projected from - but it sounds odd to me.
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 14th, 2010, 09:49 PM
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Did you happen to notice in the article that the 1.8 million overcharges were one-half of one percent of the 361 million taxi trips taken during the 26-month period the agency studied?

It was the TLC that did the study.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Mar 15th, 2010, 12:19 AM
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Since the last set of increases, there are more taxi surcharges than the British had on the colonists. The TLC has created the most complicated system than I can remember.

And there should not even be 1/2 of 1% of thefts but compared to the thieves on Wall Street, that ain't bad. At least the cabbies working for a living with 12 hour shifts who spend most of their day driving in Manhattan.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Mar 15th, 2010, 05:34 AM
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I took a taxi last night to an Upper West Side party and, I hate to say it, I studied the meter for the very first time. I know, I know: 30+ years in Manhattan and now I'm studying the meter? It's not like I never looked at it. What more does a trusting customer need to know other than the cost of the ride?

Since I have an account with a car service and I own a car, I haven't used a taxi to leave Manhattan in a very long time. I was not aware that cabs have five rates and that the rate is numbered on the meter. Thanks to NY Times blogger Bob, now I know.

The rate number is clearly visible in the upper left corner of the meter. The number is LED illuminated and it's about an inch tall, and it's labeled "Rate." It's very easy to read from the back seat and now that it has been identified and studied, it's hard to imagine any driver trying to pull this scam off. But, if you don't know what that number means and you don't bother to focus on that number during your ride, it's easy to overlook and miss. Hence, the million+ over charges. I guess I have something new to look at every time I step into a NYC cab.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
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