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The New York taxicab rip-off


New York's yellow taxicabs are iconic. So iconic, that I put one up on my blog's masthead.

But news arrived this weekend of a "mind-boggling rip-off" in which cabbies were found price-gouging customers over the past two years - to the tune of $4-$5 per ride for 1.8 million rides, for a total of $8.3M. The trick was to charge the higher out-of-city rate within the city's five boroughs. The problem was pervasive: some 35,000 of the total 48,000 cabbies were said to have applied the higher rate at least once.

This revelation emboldened many to say things like this from "cabbylee123" in the New York Post: "I always thought cab drivers are scumbags. take the train!" Quoted in the New York Times, Nick Coleman, 27, of Astoria, Queens, "who is studying to be an olive oil expert" [huh?], found the true meaning of capitalism in the taxi scam: "The whole point of capitalism is to turn a profit, as long as this mentality remains, we the people must be skeptical of all monetary transactions."

But, after hearing everyone get really worked up about it, you read the fine print in the Times: "The 1.8 million fares are a tiny fraction of the total 360 million trips over the 26-month period in question." In other words, your odds of getting ripped-off were extremely low.

I'm keeping the taxi on the blog!

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