I was wondering what my topic would be this month, and decided to write about the abuse I have experienced this past month. I am trying to focus on the industry and its survival, but we as drivers are dealing with much more abuse, almost on a daily basis now, and I decided to write about a few incidences this past month that happened to me. I have no doubt that I am not alone in these experiences.
A few weeks ago, while driving across town to get my passenger to the bus terminal, I was blocked from proceeding on West 42nd Street in Times Square. A group of teenage bicyclists were in the right lane blocking it, and would not move. I blew the horn and they ignored it. I got out of the car and yelled for the police but there were none there.
One of the guys blocking the road started circling my vehicle, kicking it everywhere. I was wondering when NYPD would respond, considering how many cameras are there, and it being a hot terrorist target. The NYPD always makes a big show of their presence there, but I guess they were all out writing tickets at the time my vehicle was assaulted and my passenger terrorized. I could not go without running over the creeps. So, I had to wait for an opportune moment, then drove out of the predicament. Good thing I was not a terrorist with a machine gun. Hundreds would have been dead before the NYPD would have dropped their ticket books to assist.
Two weeks later, I was at a pickup on Vesey Street, and the client was tardy. It was well after dark so I wasn’t worried about a parking ticket. I closed my eyes, taking advantage of the opportunity as I usually do.
I manage my fatigue by closing my eyes every chance I get.
I was awoken by a very loud bang on my driver’s-side window. It was a Port Authority Cop, being a jerk. By the way, FYI, the Port Authority being a multi-state agency and not a state or federal entity is NOT qualified to have a police department legally under the U.S. Codes of Justice. They are NOT Police Officers or Officers of the Court. Their testimony does not carry the same weight and they should be addressed as Mister, not Officer, in court. Anyway… There I was, a block away from the World Trade Center, and this jerk needed to harass me by banging hard on my window.
Why? I was at the curb just waiting for my client with my sign ID in the window. I was not committing a felony or anything other than standing late at night in a no standing zone, which 75% of all curb space is labeled as such in Manhattan. I was not on Port property and I was doing the job I paid the city for a license to do. Doesn’t the Port Authority need to protect THEIR property from terrorist attacks or is their priority attacking FHV drivers while they are doing their job off Port Authority premises?
I have only met two Port Authority cops I would consider normal in attitude and nice guys. Everyone else has extreme attitude problems, to the point where I wonder how they were judged psychologically fit. They are the lowest quality police I have ever run across, and manage to prove it to me frequently.
They could learn a lesson or two from the Pennsylvania State Police. I have found them to be at the top of police agencies, as far as a level and professional demeanor. Always courteous and controlled in temperament. They are true professionals.
The third incident, which took place two hours ago as I type this, happened at 52nd Street, between 11th Ave. and 12th Ave. at about 0120 hrs. I was on the list waiting for a job, and closed my eyes as I usually do. I awoke to find my Driver’s Door wide open and three masked guys demanding my money. We struggled and I fought them off despite my being trapped in my seat and being attacked from my side and behind simultaneously. I realized my engine was running and I freed a hand and put the SUV in gear and hit the throttle. I didn’t bother with a police report. The NYPD is worse than useless.
I have known dozens of police officers in my lifetime. I have known them to be just like the rest of us. Some honest, some dishonest, some kind and some vicious. No better or worse than the rest of the population, but I seem to attract the worst of them. The liar who wrote me a summons intentionally when no violation occurred a couple of years ago and the creep with a badge who ran a red light and cut me off so he could beat me to a parking spot, and then tried to abuse his authority with intimidation are good examples of bad officers.
The abuse we get is not just from police, but from people, too. I wish I had a nickel for every time my vehicle was kicked or hit by pedestrians, mostly while they broke the law.
It is open season on us. Everybody is attacking us on every level. Politicians are destroying us, the TLC, NYPD, NYCDOT and the State Police are all over us, harassing us and ticketing us continually. Most all of the FHV relief stands are gone, and we have almost nowhere to use a restroom safely without getting ticketed. We are not making money but we are being surveilled and ticketed and taking abuse from every other person at the same time. The TLC is extorting money from drivers based on hearsay evidence every day, too.
Our lousy Mayor is allowing the streets to be flooded with 3,000 new black cars every month, but is not increasing FHV relief stands at all. There used to be a common expression in rural America: “Take this job and shove it.” That would politely describe the way I feel now. I bet there are many thousands who agree with that sentiment.
Welcome to the new slavery…
Doug Schifter is an executive chauffeur and a professional driver with decades
of experience in the industry. He can be reached via email for
comments or questions at [email protected]
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