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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PR- 175-11
May 24, 2011

MAYOR BLOOMBERG SIGNS LEGISLATION INCREASING PENALTIES FOR TAXI DRIVERS WHO OVERCHARGE OR REFUSE TO PICK UP PASSENGERS

Remarks by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws

"The first and only bill before me today is Introductory Number 521-A, sponsored at the request of the Administration by Council Members Vacca, Rose, Comrie, James, Seabrook, Williams, Wills, Jackson, Garodnick, Recchia, Rodriguez, Gennaro, Crowley and Lander. This legislation strengthens existing penalties for taxi drivers who refuse to pick up passengers, as well as for those who overcharge passengers.

"Two months ago, I stood with Commissioner Yassky and Transportation Committee Chairman Vacca to respond to a horrible incident that left a young man in critical condition: when a Bronx resident tried to hail a cab home from Midtown Manhattan, he was refused service, and the situation quickly escalated to something far more serious. I announced at that press conference that we would work with the City Council to increase the penalties for passenger refusals by taxi drivers, and today, thanks to the expeditious work of Speaker Quinn, Council Members Vacca and Rose, and the entire Council, I'm honoring that pledge.

"The vast majority of cab drivers obey the rules and provide stellar service to our City.  For those who skirt the rules, however, this legislation will hit them where it hurts: their pockets.  Some taxi drivers argue that making trips outside of Manhattan doesn't make economic sense.  After this bill is enacted, that claim won't pass muster. By increasing these penalties - and in some cases doubling them - we are sending a clear message that the taxi industry serves everyone - and that the City will not tolerate drivers who discriminate against passengers based on where they live or what they look like.

"Remember, if you feel that you were denied taxi service within the five boroughs, call 311 or go to 311 Online and lodge a complaint with the Taxi and Limousine Commission. With your help, we can crack down on this terrible problem. 

"I would like to thank Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky and his staff for their work on this bill along with my Office of City Legislative Affairs. I would also like to thank the City Council for approving this legislation."







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