Taxi service refused to New York City Councilman

June 16, 2011 2:03:10 PM PDT
In Manhattan, filled with taxis, you would figure that a city council member would have no problem hailing a cab.

"I have always had trouble hailing cabs and it is widespread," City Councilman James Sanders said.

Councilman James Sanders had it happen again: he and his daughter just had lunch and then tried to hail a cab in SoHo to take her to Yonkers.

"I gave it my best New York. 45 minutes later and 20 cabs, I said this isn't working. They did not stop," Sanders said.

At this point, Councilman Sanders and his daughter walked over to the cab stand thinking it might be easier to get a cab. But that's only where the story gets more interesting.

"Two of them said they were off duty. A third claimed he didn't go there. At that point I picked up the phone and called the Commissioner of the Taxi and Limousine Commission," Sanders said.

"I heard the driver just decline and drive away. That is absolutely unacceptable," said David Yassky, the Commissioner of the T.L.C.

"He pulled away and went 20 feet away and picked up a nice white couple, took them wherever," Sanders said.

"Unfortunately too often drivers do pass by passengers who are traveling outside Manhattan," Yassky said.

Last year, 5,300 people inquired about taxi refusals.

Nearly 4,200 made official complaints.

But in the end, only 180 pressed on and showed up at refusal hearings.

Councilman Sanders though echoes a feeling many have.

"Its hell as a black man getting a cab in New York City," Sanders said.

In this case the commissioner promises there will be justice.

"It's a $500 penalty. So that's real money. And you know certainly the driver in this case will receive a summons," Yassky said.

But Councilman Sanders knows on past experience alone that it will happen again.