Our Town: York Avenue Taxi Stand Rules Enforced
By Laura Shin
November 23, 2010
Taxi drivers who pick up riders at the 79th Street and York Avenue stand are being reminded that they must take riders where they want to go, and they can face a fine or lose their license if they refuse.
“The taxi drivers make more money with people going to Wall Street, so they were refusing anyone who was not going to Wall Street,” said Betty Cooper Wallerstein, president of the East 79th Street Neighborhood Association.
The refusal of taxi drivers to take riders anywhere other than the business-heart of the city has been such a problem that Wallerstein, Councilwoman Jessica Lappin, Assemblyman Micah Kellner and other elected officials met with Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky to discuss the issue.
The commissioner is now enforcing the no-refusals rule and has already distributed fliers to fleet owners and garages reminding drivers of the law, Lappin said.
“The rules are very important,” Wallerstein said. “People should be taken where they want to go, whether it’s uptown, downtown, midtown, to the airports or Wall Street.”
The stand was established in the mid-’90s on York Avenue between 78th and 79th streets to cater to Upper East Side residents on the far east side who would have to walk to First or Second avenues to catch a cab. It operates Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.
People can ride individually or they can choose to share a cab with someone in line who is going in the same direction. Lappin said the cab drivers established a rate of $6 per person for every four riders per car that were going to Wall Street.
Though there is a sign at the stand that says riders can take the taxis where they want to go, residents have complained that drivers often reject riders who are not going to Wall Street.
“I, myself, have been refused,” Wallerstein said. “It’s been a problem for at least five years.”
“They need to be reminded. I’m very pleased with the TLC’s help with this,” Lappin said. “We’re encouraging people to call 311 if the problem continues. We need to log the complaints.”
The TLC did not return calls in time for press.