College students are the latest line of enforcement when it comes to ensuring cabbies don’t wrongly refuse fares to the outer boroughs.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission began hiring the students to pose as fares when it realized cabbies had become savvy to spot checks by enforcement agents and would warn their colleagues to behave in perfect accordance with the rules, reports the Daily News.
More than 350 cabbies have already been fined $500 for refusing to take long trips to the outer boroughs since the student sting operation began in September. The college kids have hailed 1,330 cabs since then and 361 were refused rides, reports the News. They’re paid $10 an hour.
The students file complaints after the alleged violation unlike TLC enforcement agents, who were able to give tickets on the spot.
One union representative acknowledged that the refusal rate was disturbingly high but said it was inappropriate to rely on college kids for the sting.
TLC Chairman David Yassky disagreed.
“Our rules are crystal clear: a taxi passenger is entitled to go to any of the five boroughs,” Yassky told the News. “Our enforcement initiative is designed to make sure drivers understand that there will be a penalty for refusing service."
The city increased fines for drivers who refuse rides after an influx in fare complaints. Cabbies are fined $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for a second offense.
A third offense could cost them their licenses.