Taxi Stories

The Endurance of Joe Mermelstein

Web Exclusive

“I am not your ordinary taxi driver,” Josef Mermelstein said, and in ways he is the anti-cabbie. New Yorkers complain that cabbies drive too fast. Mr. Mermelstein drives slowly. New Yorkers grouse that cabbies don’t know their way around. Mr. Mermelstein knows every landmark, including some, like the old Taft Hotel, that are no longer there.

THE WHOLE STORY


Probing Bias of TLC Judges

Talk to any cabbie and he is likely to tell you that the Taxi and Limousine Commission courts are biased, or corrupt, or worse.  The TLC judges accept the word of TLC inspectors or complaining passengers as Biblical Truth, while disregarding the testimony of taxi drivers as heresy.

THE WHOLE STORY


Round Midnight, A Poet Cruises

Midnight. Mid-week. Mid-Universe. Cruising Times Square, Mark Allan, licensed taxi-driver and metaphysical poet, is halfway home.

THE WHOLE STORY


The Price of Justice

OVER the past several decades, the scope and clout of the city’s administrative law courts have swelled to the point where there are now at least 500 administrative law judges scattered among a dozen agencies. While the judges hear very different kinds of cases, many of them face a conflict of interest: they are supposed to make independent judgments about the agencies that pay them.

THE WHOLE STORY


The Worst Court in America

Ebenezer Asamoah idled in his yellow cab at a red light on the corner of Delancey and Allen. When the light changed, he drove across the street and stopped for a burly man in a camouflage jacket who stood 20 feet past the intersection. The man got in. Then he ordered Asamoah to hand over his keys. This was neither a robbery nor a kidnapping–though it had elements of both.

 THE WHOLE STORY


TLC Scam Scare is Taking Honest Cabbies for a Ride

News that New York City taxi drivers cheated passengers of some $8.3 million was shocking, especially to those familiar with the industry. It was, in fact, too shocking to be believed.

THE WHOLE STORY


Hack Justice: One Lawyer’s Cab Ride….

As an associate for a major Wall Street law firm, I had deposed Donald Trump. I had also litigated in landlord-tenant court. So I thought I knew something about blowhards and a little about due process. But I knew nothing, nothing until I encountered the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.

THE WHOLE STORY


Portland Punts Uber

The city of Portland, Oregon, has filed a lawsuit to block Uber from operating in its city. According to the Guardian, Uber started offering its low-cost Uber-X service, which, it seems, aims to used unlicensed cars and drivers not licensed as tax drivers to operate the service. Passengers would hail the non-taxis with the famed Uber app.

Until now, Portland had been the largest U.S. city without Uber, the Gurdian says. 
“Our main concern is public health and safety,” mayor Charlie Hales is quoted as saying in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “Beyond that, though, is the issue of fairness. Taxi cab companies follow rules on public health and safety. So do hotels and restaurants and construction companies and scores of other service providers. Because everyone agrees: good regulations make for a safer community. Uber disagrees, so we’re seeking a court injunction.”
In some cities, such as New York, Uber and other services such as Lyft, has agreed to operate only with licensed car service drivers and licensed cars.   Elsewhere, the app-based services have come into town unregulated. 
The Portland lawsuit asks the court to confirm Uber is subject to the city’s regulations and to halt its operations until it is in compliance. 

Oops! — TLC seizes hundreds of cars in error

The Taxi and Limousine Commission seizes more than 9000 cars per year– all without a hearing and without a warrant. The TLC will give the car back to those who quickly plead guilty and pay $600. If you want to plead not guilty, you can get your car back if you pay $2000.

Now it has been revealed by reports in DNAInfo by James Fanelli and others and in the New York Post by Rebecca Harshbarger and Kathleen Cullito that the TLC lost almost 1,500 court hearings in 18 months in which TLC inspectors seized cars and falsely claimed they were illegal cabs. The TLC’s own tribunal dismissed 20 percent of the 7,187 cases involving illegal-cab violations, according to a TLC tribunal spokeswoman. The 20 percent figure almost certainly overstates the true error rate because many drivers plead guilty because they are told that doing so is the quickest and easiest way to get their car back.

The increase in rogue seizures, the Post says, came about because chiefs and captains bullied officers to seize as many cabs as possible. Many examples of inspectors making bonehead plays under pressure have been in the news, as have reports of inspectors being hounded to seize cars often on flimsy evidence.

As DNAInfo notes, TLC inspectors often seize cars where the driver or the passenger doesn’t speak English and the inspectors don’t have a translator to help understand the situation. Often inspectors don’t know or can’t be bothered with the rules, such as those that allow New Jersey of Long Island cabs to make pick ups outside New York City for trips into the City. Another common mistake is to seize cabs driven by chauffeurs or cars serving a particular business, neither or which need TLC licenses.


Race-Based Seizure?

In another seizure gone awry, TLC inspectors ticketed a black man as an illegal cabbie after spotting him drop off a white passenger. That passenger turned out to be his wife, leading to a lawsuit in a Queens county court, according reports in the Daily News. and in DNAinfo.

The Queens couple, Dan Keys Jr., 66, and Symone Palermo, 53, filed a racial bias action (claiming a whopping $3 million in damages) against the city and the Taxi and Limousine Commission, claiming they were unlawfully targeted on May 2013 by agents who assumed that a black man dropping off a white woman must be a cabdriver, or, in this case an unlicensed cabdriver  providing an illegal ride.

This is the third black eye in a week for the TLC aggressive car seizure program, the first being an claim by one of the TLC’s own inspectors that his agency acts recklessly in issuing summons, the second being a summons and car seizure of a driver who gives free rides to cancer patients

in the latest case, the husband and wife both received summonses — the wife was ticketed as  the registered owner of the car — and the agents allegedly continued the charade to cover up their mistake, according to court papers.

While the TLC-issued summonses were dismissed, the couple lost use of the car for a week. 

TLC mouthpiece Alan Fromberg, who is rarely at a loss when denouncing drivers, refused comment.



In the past the TLC has boasted that it seizes 8000 cars annually, and that it is looking to increase that number.

Additional links:

Lawsuit: TLC Mistakes Black Man, Bi-Racial Wife For Illegal Livery Cab Driver, Passenger


NYС officials accuse black man of being illegal cabbie for driving wife to work

This Racial Profiling Case Will Have You Shaking Your Head


If your car has been seized, click here.


Page 2 of 3123

000-017   000-080   000-089   000-104   000-105   000-106   070-461   100-101   100-105  , 100-105  , 101   101-400   102-400   1V0-601   1Y0-201   1Z0-051   1Z0-060   1Z0-061   1Z0-144   1z0-434   1Z0-803   1Z0-804   1z0-808   200-101   200-120   200-125  , 200-125  , 200-310   200-355   210-060   210-065   210-260   220-801   220-802   220-901   220-902   2V0-620   2V0-621   2V0-621D   300-070   300-075   300-101   300-115   300-135   3002   300-206   300-208   300-209   300-320   350-001   350-018   350-029   350-030   350-050   350-060   350-080   352-001   400-051   400-101   400-201   500-260   640-692   640-911   640-916   642-732   642-999   700-501   70-177   70-178   70-243   70-246   70-270   70-346   70-347   70-410   70-411   70-412   70-413   70-417   70-461   70-462   70-463   70-480   70-483   70-486   70-487   70-488   70-532   70-533   70-534   70-980   74-678   810-403   9A0-385   9L0-012   9L0-066   ADM-201   AWS-SYSOPS   C_TFIN52_66   c2010-652   c2010-657   CAP   CAS-002   CCA-500   CISM   CISSP   CRISC   EX200   EX300   HP0-S42   ICBB   ICGB   ITILFND   JK0-022   JN0-102   JN0-360   LX0-103   LX0-104   M70-101   MB2-704   MB2-707   MB5-705   MB6-703   N10-006   NS0-157   NSE4   OG0-091   OG0-093   PEGACPBA71V1   PMP   PR000041   SSCP   SY0-401   VCP550   300-135   350-060   300-206   200-125  , 300-075   AWS-SYSOPS   200-101   070-461   9L0-066   JN0-102   210-060   000-106   200-125  , 500-260   300-206   70-412   74-678   70-178   PEGACPBA71V1   210-260   CRISC   EX200   70-413   220-902   ITILFND   100-101   LX0-103   400-051   70-410   70-417   JK0-022   70-413   352-001   AWS-SYSOPS   ADM-201   300-115   640-692   000-080   ICGB   70-463   ICBB   70-410   70-487