According to New York City data, the number of Yellow Taxi service refusal complaints is back on the rise after a couple of years of steady decline. Among green and yellow taxis, there were 2,278 refusal complaints in 2018, compared to 1,834 the year before. Among For-Hire Vehicles (FHVs) there were 445 refusal complaints in 2018, compared to 343 the year before.

The NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) has a new Office of Inclusion, run by Malcolm Cain, a 27-year-old African-American who says he has faced service refusals on many occasions. Cain has launched a citywide campaign to educate passengers about their rights. TLC street teams have been handing out information cards, and Cain has visited block parties and street fairs telling travelers about TLC procedures.

Cain has also been meeting with drivers to discuss the “do’s and don’ts” of public service. App-based operators, for instance, are not permitted to inquire about a passenger’s destination before a pickup. All drivers must pick up passengers regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability or destination.

A first offense can result in a $300 fine. A second offense can cost $500, plus a suspension. A third offense can result in a license revocation and a three-year ban.

Many of Cain’s discourses with drivers about discrimination have turned into gripe sessions, with cabbies telling him about their grievances and justifying their reasons for not picking up passengers. Drivers told Cain in June, during a meeting in the Bronx, that if they refuse a rider – and, thus, the rider’s money – it’s for safety and security.

“They try to validate their reasons for refusing fares,” Cain said. “It’s so deeply embedded. It’s a tough issue to take on. In the end, it’s all discrimination.”

Source: Daily News

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