Buy Or Don’t Buy

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Don’t Buy: Black Cabs

New York City has this crap law where all the yellow cabs are basically controlled by the government or something.  I dunno.  Every other city I’ve been to, you can call up a metered cab and have them come to your apartment, office, drunken watering hole, or hospital.  They have different companies like Checkered Cab, Yellow Cab, Gypsy Cab, but they’re all metered, and charge the same rate.  In New York we have this second tier of taxis called Livery Cabs, or commonly known as Black Cabs that are the only option available to call via a car service.  These are a fleet of black Lincoln Towncars, roaming the city like midget limousines.  They don’t have a meter, so you have to haggle with the driver to arrange a price. Sometimes people get raped (literally and figuratively - this one Black Cab driver drove a drunken girl to the middle of nowhere Queens and then raped her!)  And there’s nothing from stopping a shady dude from buying one of these cars himself and pretending to be a Livery Cab driver, which is why you should be careful when hailing one of these on the street.

What really prompted me to write this scathing DON’T BUY about the Livery Cab industry was a recent trip to the airport.  From my office in SoHo, I attempted to hail a cab to LaGuardia in northern Queens.  It was only 4 in the afternoon, and I knew it wouldn’t take me more than 30 minutes to get there - about a $30 taxi ride, not including tolls and tip.  Before I could catch a metered taxi that was for hire, I had about four Black Cabs drive by and ask me if I needed a ride.  Each of them quoted between $50 and $70 to LaGuardia.  WTF?  No thanks.  Who do you think you are?

Long story short:  I found a real taxi, thank you very much, and continued to the airport for exactly $28 before tolls and tip.  So you can fuck off, Livery Cab industry.  You clog our streets with your useless towncars, and I totally do not buy.

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About the Author: Ryan

Ryan Duffy wrote this article, so please don't take it too seriously. If you would like more information, you can look Ryan Duffy up on the Social Networks.

2 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. AFSienko
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    Jul 11th, 2008

    Livery cabs have predesignated price brackets, with inter-borough transport costing much more than a local ride. Its actually illegal for “black cabs” to pick you up without a phone call to their dispatcher, so that may also account for the haggling and higher prices you experienced. Just something you “dunno” that may help in the future.

    As far as the “shady” drivers are concerned, their costumers are frequently much scarier than the drivers themselves. Often drivers must buy or maintain their own vehicles, and pay for their own gas. This is also a startup job for immigrants and lower-middle-class, meaning they make almost no money. Still, I agree those prices were outrageous. Who do they think they are, trying to feed their family on YOUR time?

    The thing is you will never find a taxi in the outer boroughs. Livery cabs are the way to go: you can call them anytime and they will pick you up from the most dangerous locations, usually for around $10.

    So when you are stranded in east Brooklyn at three in the morning, you will be undoubtedly be yelling “buy” at the first livery cab dispatcher you can find. After that, maybe ranting at black cars won’t seem so much fun anymore. It also sounds kind of unhealthy.

  2. Ryan
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    Jul 11th, 2008

    Still not buying it.

    It’s an unsustainable business. Also, who gets ’stuck’ in East New York at 3AM? Take the train, pussy!

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