Thursday, August 11th, 2011
There were 7,700 complaints about taxi drivers in NYC, February-February 2010-2011, according to Andrew Grossman. In his Wall Street Journal article “Many Taxi Complaints, Little Action,” he noted that these reports of dangerous or discourteous behavior resulted in hearings for 11 percent of the drivers, according to Taxi & Limousine Commission statistics.
I’m also sure that the 7,700 complaints are only a fraction of the number of complaints that there might be. On the way in to work today I was almost run over by a taxi driven by a man who wanted to make the turn onto 42nd Street at Second Avenue when he was ready to, whether or not there were pedestrians crossing at the light. It happened so fast I didn’t get his license.
Grossman also reported that after making the complaint, few bothered to take the next step to get the hearing process rolling, which was to send back to the city a letter that the city had sent them. Whew! What effort! An onerous time-killer.
Most city people or frequent travelers to cities have at least one memorable taxi story, their own or a friend’s.
A client told of a hair-raising drive to a NYC airport even though he had plenty of time and told this to the driver. He pleaded with him to slow down. Driver didn’t listen.
My parents found themselves face on with a taxi in a two lane, two-way NYC tunnel. He was passing another car and he ignored the “no passing” signs and double yellow line.
A colleague told of a nut driver who swore nonstop after she entered the car, using increasingly foul language. She scrambled out and tossed money at him when she could safely exit.
I saw a driver, enraged from having to stand in traffic, dash off at such a rate his wheels jumped on the sidewalk at a crosswalk barely missing people waiting there for the light to change. His passenger must have had an anxious ride. Nobody on the street had time to note his license number because they were jumping out of his way.
Given the potential harm to others–Grossman described additional complaints such as “drivers offering marijuana and whiskey and pulling away before riders get both legs out of the car,” as well as one medallion with eight passenger complaints because the driver appeared to be sleeping or not fully alert–don’t we owe it to fellow pedestrians and passengers alike to follow up on such behavior?
What’s the cause of this passenger passivity: Lack of time? Ennui? Fear of retribution? Dread of causing someone to lose his/her job? Do you have a taxi story–good or bad?