After news that 75% of cabbies had overcharged passengers at least once, some drivers are worried: Osman Chowdhury, who returned $500,000-worth of diamond jewelry left in his cab, told the Daily News, "I feel very ashamed [of cheating drivers], When you're driving, people now look at you and think you're going to do something bad. The bad thing becomes the issue, and then the good things drivers do are forgotten."
In this instance, drivers charged twice the regular 40-cent per 1/5 mile NYC rate (measured on the meter under "Code 1") by using the the 80-cent per 1/5 mile rate for Nassau and Westchester counties ("Code 4")—resulting in over $8 million in overcharges. And while 75% of drivers have overcharged at least once, the Taxi and Limousine Commission found that about 3,000 of the city's 36,000 cabbies overcharged 1,000 times. One woman told the NY Times about her bad experienced:
Monica Gutierrez 39, said she got into a cab outside Saks Fifth Avenue on her birthday last May and asked the driver to take her to Brooklyn. He initially refused but then relented, only to activate the No. 4 setting when he turned on the meter. Ms. Gutierrez added that at the time she did not know what that meant.
Along the way he stopped the cab to make a call and left the meter running. Ms. Gutierrez said that when she reached her destination near Downtown Brooklyn, the fare was more than $30, far more than what the trip usually cost. She refused to pay, but she said her mother-in-law eventually gave the money to the driver.
She later filed a complaint with the TLC, but at the hearing the judge sided with the driver.
The Post reports that TLC Commissioner Matthew Daus wants to "recover whatever he can of the more than $8.3 million scammed out of 2 million passengers in the past 26 months" by working with banks to reimburse fares who paid with credit cars. Which means the catch is that cash-paying customers—the majority of cab passengers—won't get a refund.