NEW YORK CABBIE OVERCHARGES PASSENGER BY MILLIONS
March 12 2010
New York, NY – Ever since human beings first invented the wheel, we have been on the move. Whether it was slaves moving sandstone to build the great pyramids of Egypt, horse drawn carriages moving goods from one town to another, railways
forging new territory over the wilds of the Americas, or the continued exodus of workers to the suburbs, the wheel has enabled humanity to move, and grow, and advance far beyond anything our ancient ancestors could ever have dreamt.
Of course the more some things change, the more they stay the same. For decades the New York City Cabbie has been as much a part of the landscape of the city as her other great landmarks, as much a part of the fabric and identity of the metropolis as Central Park or the Statue of Liberty. Part of the reason for that prominence has been a result of the sheer requirement of taxis in the city, a city so congested that car ownership is more of a burden than a convenience, which has made that particular mode of travel standard. Because of the reliance, particularly by out-of-towners, cabbies have been notorious for overcharging customers. Whether switching the meter or taking the scenic route, more than a few visitors to the city have been hit by large taxi fares. One such incident however takes the cake with a cab driver overcharging a passenger by at least eight million dollars.
“People are used to this kind of thing in New York and really in any major city but there are extremes and then there are extremes. This particular incident is obviously a major abuse and we will seek a resolution to this particular situation as well as implement procedures to ensure that it won’t happen again in the future,” said a spokesperson for the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission. “While this represents a gross violation of trust between taxi drivers and clients, we are constantly seeking to eliminate this type of behaviour, whether the overcharge is 8 cents or 8 million cents. We simply will not tolerate the gouging of clients.”
Using GPS technology a recent investigation revealed that the cab drivers overcharged by an average of $4.45 per trip over the last two years.
“This is really a remarkable number for all kinds of reasons by it really, more than anything, serves to highlight the underlying problem that exists every major city. We aren’t talking about a driver talking the long way to the hotel, because at least there the passenger gets a small tour, we are talking about out and out theft, overcharging for the same trip, and that casts the entire industry in a bad light,” said Scrape TV New York analyst Mike Wilson. “I’ve been to major cities all over the world such as London, Tokyo, and Istanbul and I was most certainly overcharged in every single cab ride I took but never have I had a driver request such a ridiculously high amount, and if one did I can tell you I wouldn’t pay it.”
Reportedly the couple in the incident paid the driver, only realizing their mistake after he had left, when they then reported it to police.
“It’s quite steal for any cabbie to be sure, but I think they are going to catch with something like that. I assume he’s not driving a taxi anymore but if he is, well people in the city need to be alert and aware. There are no destinations in New York that would bring a seven figure tab, period,” continued Wilson. “Let this be a warning to all travellers to the city. Do not, for any reason, pay more than say a hundred bucks or so for travel in the city. If you’re travelling to Jersey, well, then you get what you deserve.”
Officials said they are considering reducing the number of available digits on cab meters to no more than ten to help reduce major overcharging.
Mike Michaels, American Correspondent