Vacca Bill to Increase Fines for Cabbies Who Refuse to Travel Outside of Manhattan
Bill inspired by recent incident in which 4 Bronx men were refused service
BRONX, NY ― The New York City Council on Wednesday unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Council Member James Vacca to impose steeper fines on taxi drivers who refuse to take passengers to any destination within the five boroughs, as required by law.
Vacca introduced the bill in late March, just weeks after four young men from Morris Park were refused service after a night out in Manhattan. That refusal ultimately turned violent when the driver became irate, sped away from the scene, and hit two of the men, one of whom is still in recovery.
“Too often in this City people are denied a cab ride because of what they look like or where they’re going,” Vacca said. “The stories are too many and have gone on for too long. Those who insist on continuing this illegal practice will now pay an even greater price because this Council is determined to see this practice become a thing of the past.”
Specifically, the bill applies to three violations: refusing to take a passenger to any destination in New York City, inquiring where a passenger is going before the passenger enters the taxi, and charging more than the legal fare. Maximum fines will increase from $350 to $500 for the first offense and from $500 to $1,000 for the second. Future offenses within 36 months would continue to lead to license revocation, but would also include a $1,000 fine for each additional offense.
Vacca’s legislation was introduced jointly with Council Member Debi Rose of Staten Island, in concert with the Mayor and the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission. The Committee on Transportation, which Vacca chairs, passed the bill unanimously, also on Wednesday.