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Hail? No! City stings livery cabbies in Downtown

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What the hail?

The Taxi and Limousine Commission is cracking down on livery cabs accepting street hails in Brooklyn — even though the illicit practice may soon be legalized.

Last Thursday, enforcement officers caught a dozen cabbies in an elaborate sting on Court Street — an operation witnessed by our intrepid shutterbug Tom Callan.

As this sequence of photos show, the plan was simple: an undercover inspector flagged down a livery cab at the corner of Schermerhorn Street. After agreeing on a price, the agent signaled to his team, which surrounded the car, ordering the driver to get out.

“At first [the undercover inspector] is laughing and smiling, but once a deal is struck, he gets really nasty,” said Callan, recounting how everything went down. “He puts up his hand, pulling his team over and tells the driver, ‘Shut off your car right now!’ One time he pulled the keys right out of the ignition.”

Snagged drivers were slapped with $350 tickets. The cabbie’s home base also receives a $100 summons.

Repeat offenders could lose their license, according to a Taxi and Limousine Commission report released in April. Bases can receive fines of up to $10,000.

Livery cab companies find the undercover operations unnecessarily aggressive.

“It’s not fair,” said Sherri Jackson, a dispatcher for Portal Car Service, one of the companies caught in last Thursday’s sting. “[The Taxi and Limousine Commission] harass and intimidate us, but I don’t know why. All we’re trying to do is make an honest living.”

Taxi Commission spokesman Allan Fromberg disagreed, but did say that operations like the Court Street crackdown are happening all over the city. More than 3,000 illegal street hail summonses have been given out.

“It’s part of our normal enforcement protocol,” Fromberg said. “As long as this problem exists, we’ll be there to enforce it.”

A Taxi and Limousine Commission study found that illegal hail activity is a prevalent problem at subway stations, shopping areas and nightlife districts throughout Brooklyn.

In Sheepshead Bay, for example, a line of livery cabs can be found idling outside the Sheepshead Bay Road station, looking to pick up commuters on the final leg in their trip.

A recent city study showed that 19 illegal street hails took place every hour at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Avenue V – just a block away from the Kings Plaza Mall in Mill Basin. But that was nothing compared to what was found in Coney Island: 65 illegal hails took place every hour at the corner of Mermaid and Stillwell avenues – in the heart of the amusement district.

All of this could become moot if Albany passes a Bloomberg Administration bill to allow street hails outside of Manhattan.

Yellow cab drivers oppose the bill, claiming that it would devalue the pricey medallions that gives them exclusive rights to street pickups.

Updated 5:24 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

ty from pps says:
Ridiculous!

How many Yellow Cabs are there available? None of which willing to go anywhere other than Manhattan.

65 illegal hails per hour in Coney Island.... but "it doesn't make economic sense" for Yellow Cabs to operate in Brooklyn? I call Bullsh*t
June 23, 2011, 9:02 am
Frank from Furter says:
You know its not the legitimate licensed livery cabs that are the problem...its the illegal one with non-licensed drivers. I think the TLC is doing this just to get the public on board to their half baked cruising car servives in the outer boros. Notice what their own spokesman says....

"A Taxi and Limousine Commission study found that illegal hail activity is a prevalent problem at subway stations, shopping areas and nightlife districts throughout Brooklyn.".
The problem is at relatively few fixed points- that can be solved by creating pick up places where the car services can pick up legally and would include places like 125th street in Manhattan-where the limos live and the cabs don't.

and BTW this won't stop it either. The real problem that of the unlicensed operator-who is probably an illegal alien and can't work legally- won't be stopped by this. and before someone accuses me of being prejudiced,
when the TLC tried to get Van services to replace the bus routes being closed down, they found the biggest problem was most of the illegal Van drivers were not employment eligible in the US
June 23, 2011, 9:09 am
frank from furter says:
You know the TLC allows uncalled limos to pick up at one place in Brooklyn right in violation of the law....and its at the Brooklyn Cruise terminal...its ok for the cruise lines but not the rest of us....
June 23, 2011, 9:23 am
Soso from BK Greenway says:
"Yellow cab drivers oppose the bill, claiming that it would devalue the pricey medallions that gives them exclusive rights to street pickups."

Time for the city to confiscate these medallions and auction them off to the highest bidder every 3 years. Why we allow these hacks to have this economic benefit is beyond me. I say give them all 2 years and then auction time. The extra value these medallions offer belongs to the citizens of NYC, not these hack license hoarders.
June 23, 2011, 9:59 am
just says:
So a yellow cab from LaGuardia Airport drops me off in some un-specified nabe in Brooklyn because he "really didn't want to go to Brooklyn in the first place."
shee..iiiiit...

I hate NY .... more and more every day.
June 23, 2011, 12:39 pm
Alex from Manhattan says:
I received two summons on the same week 07-18-11 and 07-21-11with this scam, I'm an honest person and I work my 14 hours a day to survive, now I keep thinking in my family how I will feed, I think the thieves started the same way, this is the way to break human integrity, soon I will be one more homeless in New York, this is the plan of illuminati’s (NWO).
Don’t aloud this Reptilians lets go with this, we are human and we must stay together in this battle.
July 24, 2011, 1:55 pm
NaNa from Brooklyn from Albany Ave PATHMARK SUPERMARKET says:
The amount of illegal cars at the PATHMARK is truly disgusting. Not only are the drivers rude and near violent to each other, they are disrespectful to the women customers they pick up. The problem appears to be that there is no regulation, no threat of fine or penalty for their disgusting behaviors or actions. They overcharge you then cuss you out when you disagree with the fee. Something needs to be done and done quickly. Who can tell me where I can report these outrageous behaviors and practices?
Aug. 8, 2011, 2:02 pm

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