Some taxis to have option to remove the partition

Jim Dolan Image
Friday, April 22, 2016
Some taxis to have option to remove partition
Jim Dolan has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Taxis are about to get an option they haven't had in more than 20 years: to get rid of the partition between the front seat and back.

Well, some of them will.

"If you see these air vents, this is the A/C for the passenger," said Chris Harisopoulos, of McGuinness Taxi.

The so-called "Taxi of Tomorrow" that the TLC is pushing these days, comes equipped with a partition, it can't be removed.

"I mean, they do help the driver once in a while, there's a lot of crazy people out there," Harisopoulos said.

The partitions were required back in 1994 after a violent crime spike against taxi drivers. Now, in a time when taxis have so much competition changes are being made.

The partitions are no longer necessary. In a statement, the TLC said, "Studies show that in-vehicle camera systems effectively deter would-be criminals and significantly improve the likelihood that criminals are apprehended." Most drivers don't agree.

"I like the partition, it's safe for me," said Muhammad Ghani, a taxi driver.

"It used to be 40, 50 cab drivers killed in that time. I think you know that if somebody wants to cut you with a knife, it would be much harder if you have the partition," another taxi driver said.

And passengers aren't so sure either.

"I definitely don't feel comfortable without that glass in the middle," a passenger said.

Some drivers do like the idea. They'd like to be able to talk more easily with passengers, to hear them more clearly, and besides, they say they're not such cash rich targets any more.

"I think it's left over from when people used to carry a lot of cash. Now we use credit cards, there's no reason for it," another taxi driver said.