I have to begin this week’s posts with something non-political but important. Those expecting, “Curse those Republicans!”, &c &c, come back tomorrow!
My dear New Yorkers,
Have you ever tried to take a taxi from Manhattan, to Brooklyn? Although city law requires a driver to take you anywhere you ask within the Five Boroughs, many drivers will refuse to make this simple drive, even with the promise of plenty of return fares, if you know the areas. I’ve had friends with newborn babies turned down by taxis, and forced to wait in the cold, for the simple crime of living in Park Slope. Of course, if you write down the driver’s number, you can get them fired. But who actually follows through on that?
Wiser taxi drivers have apparently devised a way to escape the non-trivial risk of termination: faked car trouble. This lesson was given me by a taxi driver who clearly thought that my suit, Wall Street address, and pickup spot by my midtown law firm meant I’d be cool making fun of Brooklynites. I played along to hear the story, but I’m not.
In brief, regular cab drivers have apparently built and installed switches that will choke the cab’s engine. Surreptitiously switched, when given a Brooklyn destination, the driver can take the fare, start driving, but eventually point to the by-now-indicated “Check Engine” light and weird motor noises as seemingly objective reasons to eject the unsuspecting customer. Then the driver can take the fare thus far (at least the $2.50 initial fare), drive around the corner, flip off the switch, and head on to customers more helpful for the bottom line.
My driver demonstrated the switch: it works like a charm. His was a small button to the left of the gear switch, indicated by a green LED light.
Here’s the kicker. I was given this demonstration on my way home after a late night at work. So… confused, and my mind exhausted… I forgot to write down the driver’s number. If you’re a victim of this trick, rather than the recipient of a gleeful demonstration, please report the driver. Clever lawbreaking is always fun to hear about, but people like this guy give our city a bad name.