New campaign zones in on service refusals from taxi, for-hire drivers in NYC

LOWER MANHATTAN, Manhattan (WABC) -- The Taxi and Limousine Commission launched a new ad campaign centered around service refusals, addressing an issue many have dealt with for years.

The campaign, a first of its kind in New York City, zones in on taxi drivers and those working for app-based companies who choose not to pick people up based on things like skin color or destination.

"This is a way to acknowledge there is a problem that exists and for us to address it head on," new TLC Commissioner Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk said.

A woman named Rhonda says it's happened to her.

"The cab would get someone else, maybe a couple of blocks down," Rhonda said.

Spearheaded by TLC's Office of Inclusion, the ads can be seen in subways, on outer-borough buses, ferries and at LaGuardia and JFK airports.

The penalty for this type of illegal activity varies anything from a $300 or more fine, to a driver losing his or her license, but some behind the wheel say things aren't always as they seem.

"The TLC found me guilty and that I should have picked her up," said driver Mukadam Akhdar, who had to pay a $1,000 fine.

The driver insists it wasn't a case of discrimination, rather a dilemma other drivers face like getting back to base on time at the end of their shift or the passenger going in a different direction.

Last year, the TLC did have to yank licensees from 18 taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers, suspend 268 and gave out nearly $300,000 in fines.

The new campaign is aiming to turn that around.

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