Yes, New York City Cabs Take Credit Cards

New York taxi drivers have resigned themselves to a fate with credit cards, according to a New York Times investigation. Cabbies struck twice this year to protest regulations forcing them to accept credit of all stripes. To see if cabbies are following the new rules, the Times asked five reporters to hop in twenty cabs each with one question: “I’ve only got a credit card, is that O.K.?”

Here is what happened over 92 rides:

  • 47—slightly over half—accepted credit cards.
  • 35 cabs—nearly 40%—did not have credit card readers
  • 9 drivers refused to accept credit cards at all.
  • 1 driver accepted the credit card, and then tried to levy his own $0.35 transaction fee.

The nine drivers who refused offered a litany of poor excuses, including:

  • “There is a minimum cab fare for credit card use.” (There isn’t, according to the Taxi and Limousine Commission.)
  • There is a 35-cent transaction fee for credit cards.” (Not so.)
  • “It’s too short a ride.” (No such thing.)
  • “It better be a good credit card.” (Passengers can always pay with cash if the card is declined.)
  • The device doesn’t have to be activated until the new year. (If it is installed, passengers can use it.)

If a cabbie gives you a hard time, you are in good company—Matthew Daus, New York’s Taxi Commissioner, has been twice refused. Most drivers will cave if you write down their badge number and threaten to call 311. It may take effort, but paying with a credit card is still easier than catching a late-night lift to Brooklyn.

Hey, Taxi! Do You Take Credit Cards? [NYT]
(Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. missdona says:

    I had one refuse me the other day. He hit the cash button before I could the back seat and said “sorry, it’s broken.”

  2. tange1 says:

    I’ve been refused also. I rode in a cab that had the reader and everything but he said ‘its not working’. Just a day prior had been my first experience using credit in a cab. It took longer than I would have liked because hitting all the buttons was a pain.

  3. skittlbrau says:

    I was refused… until I got on the phone to 311. The cabby said fine, if I hung up the phone. Sometimes you just need to stand up for yourself (same thing with the late to brooklyn thing, once the door is closed they have to take you).

  4. TechnoDestructo says:

    What’s the problem? Are they just not getting tips if people pay by card?

    Are their employers dicking them out of tips?

    Or is it that their tips get reported to the IRS?

  5. sleze69 says:

    @TechnoDestructo: It’s the taxes. Imagine if waitresses, bartenders and tow truck drivers were required to pay taxes on their cash-only income.

  6. glomm says:

    Everyone has to pay taxes on their cash-only income, it is just easier to lie about it if there are no pay-stubs or banking records.

  7. trollkiller says:

    I think using a credit card in a cab would be a scary thing. Sounds like a great place for a skimmer or have your info stolen by a random immigrant.

  8. Ecoaster says:

    I’m guessing the credit cards take a little longer to process than quickly making change with cash, too…. though I could be wrong.

  9. balthisar says:

    @trollkiller: Where’s the card reader? Where a “random immigrant” will install a skimmer? Or are you worried about the driver? If it’s with the driver, then I’d say that’s pretty close to full traceability.

    @sleze69: They’re supposed to. Luckily in the case of waitpeople, their employers automatically declare 15% of their service. Same for bartenders anyone know? Imagine if regular people were only supposed to be honest in declaring their income!

  10. XTC46 says:

    @trollkiller: “random immigrant” riigght… becasue no Americans drive cabs. try not being racist.

    @sleze69: They do have to pay taxes, most just lie and only claim about .25 on the dollar for tips (if that). Easiest form of tax evasion there is.

    The other problem is they then HAVE to use the meter to get the exact cost and can’t do trips “off the books”.

  11. alceste says:

    Well, if you only have a credit card, and that credit card is declined, then what is the cabby going to do? Normally if you have several forms of payment, then he’s got a better shot.

    Also, credit cards take a 2-3% overhead, PLUS it’s likely going to take a while (days?) to get the cash for the credit card.

    I don’t blame cabbies for wanting to refuse credit cards; at the same time they just need to suck it up.

  12. hn333 says:

    @trollkiller: I was thinking the same thing. It won’t take long for us to hear about stolen credit card data due to bad cabbies. BTW just because someone is an immigrant it doesn’t mean they want to cheat you.

  13. godawgs7 says:

    I was running late and had to take a cab from Manhattan to Newark airport. The cabbie offered me a ‘deal’ off meter for the trip but i told him to hit the ticker anyways. Based on the little guide to how much your ride costs in the back of the cab, i owed him about $60 (if i remember correctly). He said i owed him $90 for return tolls and refused to open the trunk for my bags. We had to get a cop involved (who happened to work the tunnel we took years before) and the cop pretty much called the cabbie a liar.

    Had i known what i know now about torts (refusing to give a bag back can be considered false imprisonment) i definitely would have nailed the guy and filed a police report for the criminal equivalence. Dealing w/ 311 long distance was such a huge pain in the ass.

    I was going to feel bad for the guy and give him a big tip, but after he tried to rip him off i completely stiffed him.

  14. godawgs7 says:

    @alceste: your argument is the exact same as the one against cash. Do you think no one has ever hopped in a cab and realized they didnt have the cash? What are you going to do then, use a credit car…errrr?

  15. forgottenpassword says:

    So can someone explain to me why cabbies are so against credit card readers in their cabs?

    I have been in a cab once my entire life so I know very little about cabbie culture or the complete ins & out of cabs.

  16. trollkiller says:

    @xtc46: I never mentioned race so bite me. Quick lesson for the slow, religion does not equal race, country of origin does not equal race, sexual preference does not equal race. So if I say I hate Mexican homosexual Muslims, I have not made a racist statement no matter how much you would like to think so.

    @balthisar: In the photo it looks like the card reader in mounted in the back. It seems to me to be a great place to place a skimmer. How would you trace it back to the cab? I would assume if you are using your credit card for cab fare you are most likely using it in other places too.

    @hn333: Agreed not every immigrant is out to rip you off. Just like all the 7/11 clerks and NY cabbies are immigrants. Sometimes you just have to run with the joke.

  17. gingerCE says:

    I don’t live in NYC, but when I visit I always carry a lot of cash on me for the taxis and the food on the street. Yes, I can understand the convenience of credit cards, especially if you are there for business–it makes keeping track of expenses very easy vs. dealing with cash.

    But I think trollkiller is on to something. Stores for the most part are in one place. Cabs are all over the place, get into accidents, get stolen, and instead of just being a robbery where the thief steals money from the register, does having the cab and credit card machine lends itself to easier access to credit card info etc . . . Also is the info being transmitted by wireless–what kind of security is being used to ensure no one gets access to the info. I’d like to know that first before I started using my credit card in a taxi.

  18. trollkiller says:

    @hn333: Should have read: Agreed not every immigrant is out to rip you off. Just like NOT all the 7/11 clerks and NY cabbies are immigrants. Sometimes you just have to run with the joke.

  19. sleze69 says:

    @xtc46: Ergo it is a tax issue. They will have to pay taxes on what they actually earn.

  20. num1skeptic says:

    slow news day! what about the guy with the $85,000 cell phone bill. i figured it would be on here by now.

  21. azntg says:

    God, I hate NYC yellow cabs. I would much rather walk over (or call) the local car service that’s one block away from my house if I really need a cab ride.

  22. LilKoko says:

    I just love how racists, sexists, anti-whatever-ists claim their *****ist statements are “just a joke.”

    Yeah, TROLLKILLER. I’m talking to you!

    Immigration, nationality, etc., etc. have nothing to do with honesty and integrity. As we can see from your example, you’re a punk. Anyone else who comes from wherever you’re from is not necessarily a punk the way you are.

  23. LilKoko says:

    Back to the topic at hand, do the cabbies have to pay the credit card processing fees? That might have something to do with their reluctance, too.

  24. num1skeptic says:

    why can’t we all get along! i’m short, do i get all huffy and puffy over short jokes? no! that is just the way the world is. get some thicker skin. you can’t change the way people think, and therefore, can’t change the way people are.

  25. Cerb says:

    I think it’s ridiculous that they are forced to accept CCs. What compelling reason can be given to convince me that private businesses should be required by law to take a particular payment form??? If being credit card friendly is so important to taxi consumers, the market will correct in favor of it.

  26. num1skeptic says:

    were all imigrants, except for native americans of course.

  27. num1skeptic says:

    so they can refuse a $50 or $100 bill, but not a card? sounds like bs.

  28. maztec says:

    @Trollkiller: No, you’re just a bigot. Most people lump all forms of bigotry into racism. True, they are semantically incorrect. Nevertheless, the sentiment is identical.

    As for your argument that it is “not ok to hate a race” but is ok to “hate a nationality”. You are wrong. First, it is ok to hate anyone, for anything, that you like. You just are not allowed to make decisions based on their race, religion, nationality, or gender unless you have a damned good reason for it. Sexuality is there but at a lower tier of scrutiny – you just have to have a good/compelling reason for it. Nonetheless, this only applies if you are or are affiliated with a United States Federal Government Entity. However, most states have adopted similar rules.

    Despite all of this. It comes down to the same issue. It is wrong to discriminate against people and to classify them based on stereotypes. For example, I would stereotype you as a Troll – not a TrollKiller. In this case, I would refer to you as one filthy generic word or another and would likely stereotype you as a teenager who does not feel that he has enough control of his own life. In that regard, I would recommend taking away more control and simply banning you from commenting on gawker – well at least this segment of gawker.

    Scrolling through your comments I see a trend towards passive-aggressive trolling that is thinly veiled. Pathetic.

    ———

    In closing. Why do cab drivers refuse to take credit cards? Basic they’re blasted immigrants! Er, wait, wrong response. No, because they like to do a little bit of business under the table – it helps pad their margins. Despite this, it is still not a good reason to refuse a credit card. They are useful and help force the cabby to be honest. I typically tip more when I pay with credit than with cash.

    As for fears that they will steal your card number. Sure, then again that is always a fear and is a reason to use a card with insurance and a good bank or credit agency that protects your interests. I find most immigrants [disclosure: I work with legal immigrants nearly every day] tend to be more honest than most U.S. Citizens that I deal with.

    Oh well. Finally – I would like to reiterate that someone shove a sock in Trollkiller’s mouth.

    Ok, Thanks, Bye.

  29. num1skeptic says:

    trollkiller is probably hijacking cc’s right now. isn’t that what all young punks do? <–stereotype)

    he probably steals stuff and spraypaints as well.

  30. trollkiller says:

    @LilKoko: Ok do you really want to go down this road? I tried to back off of it because I won’t have time to correct people all day, but such is life. So I retract my “it was just a joke” statement and stand fully behind my original statement.

    Who is most likely to have contacts outside the reach of US law enforcement? Recent immigrants. Fraud runs rampant in third world countries where a lot of NY cab drivers come from. In fact some countries seem to encourage fraud. (Think Nigeria)

    Why would you risk losing your credit card info to a random immigrant? If you go to a local store the “turnover” rate is lower. You see the same people every time you go in. Is that true when you get in a cab? Nope. If you take a cab twice a day for a year I will bet you will meet at least 150 different drivers. Hence the random part of the statement.

    There is the logic behind my statement. Deal with it and not your “feelings”

  31. cde says:

    @Cerb: There is no open competition. The number of taxi badges are limited, and you can’t grab the same taxi at the same spot every day, so no Free Market and its invisible hand.

  32. trollkiller says:

    @maztec: Does it hurt to talk out of both sides of your mouth? I am attacked because the short bus people think I am accusing all immigrints of being dishonest. I didn’t, but yet you are accusing all cabbies of being dishonest because they skim cash. Most NY cabbies are immigrants so therefore YOU not me are accusing immigrants of being dishonest.

    I am a man after Dr. King. Content of character not color of skin. That does not mean I am blind or ignore reality. Sorry if taking the veneer off offends you.

  33. Pylon83 says:

    @Cerb:
    I live in Chicago where all of the Cab’s are forced to accept credit cards. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to operate within a system where only SOME of the cab’s took credit? SInce it is a regulated industry, the government/city can and should be able to place regulations that benefit the public as a whole upon them uniformly. I can’t imagine the cluster-f*ck that would ensue if you had to stop 10 cabs to find one that took credit. I’ve had a few get pissy with me when I gave them a credit card, and I simply tell them if they want to get paid, they’ll take the card. Otherwise, I’m getting out and I got a free ride.

  34. Me - now with more humidity says:

    Los Angeles cabs have accepted credit cards for years. None of your nightmare scenarios have come to pass. Worry about something that matters.

  35. Cerb says:

    @cde: There are a limited number of slots (which I think is bunk to begin with, but this is NYC we are talking about). However, what’s to stop one cab company from putting “We Accept CCs” on the side of their cabs? If using a CC is really so important to you, then you can wait for one of the CC friendly taxis to come along, if not too bad.
    I’ve always considered taxis to be one of those, “I should probably get some cash” situations. I don’t see why we need to legislate consumer convenience. There is no “Right” to use CCs wherever you want. When I go down to the Asian market in town, I know they don’t take CC so I plan accordingly. Why can’t people who ride in taxis do the same? It’s not there there is any shortage of ATMs in NYC.

  36. m.ravian says:

    this happened to me in Philadelphia. friend and i were in a cab, she went to use her credit card, the cabbie said she couldn’t use it – not even a lame excuse that it was broken. i didn’t have cash on me either, so the cabbie actually waited, with me in the car, while she ran into a corner store and got money out of an ATM.

    jerk.

  37. num1skeptic says:

    if i owned a business, it would be bs to force me to except cc’s. considering it costs per transaction. i don’t get it. hardly anyone, including cabbies will accept any bill larger than a $20, but yet they have to take credit cards?

  38. Pylon83 says:

    @Cerb:
    I think some of it comes down to the practical need for cabs in both Chicago and NYC. With driving/parking being ridiculous (and traffic-snarling), cab’s aren’t really a convenience anymore. I’m not a fan of government regulation (really overregulation), but I do agree with it in this circumstance. I think with all the tourists, and in order to keep the city functioning efficiently in a rapidly changing society that such regulation is reasonable. Now, I have to disclose that I am a bit biased, as I never carry cash. However, even attempting to be as neutral as possible, I think that they city is right here.

  39. Cerb says:

    @Pylon83:

    I see where you are coming from, I just don’t know if it’s enough for me to approve of this kind of government regulation. I mean, I can understand the practicality of keeping the number of registered cabbies at a set number due to the terrible driving conditions in NYC/Boston/etc. However, I cannot see the NEED to regulate what types of tender must be accepted by cabbies. Why is it so essential that cabbies accept CCs? Should they also be forced to accept travellers cheques? Gold Bullion?

    For the record I almost never have cash on me.

  40. jodles says:

    the readers are in on the back of the driver’s seat, so you swipe it yourself. i’ve never used it though.

    and a little off-topic, but i love those new cabs with the tv’s in the back of the seats! we used it to look up where our restaurant was, because my friend forgot the address and the cabbie didn’t know where it was just by name. then we played around with it during the ride downtown.

  41. czarandy says:

    @trollkiller: You are completely wrong. Research shows that ALL immigrants, including illegal immigrants, commit crimes at a rate about 4x lower than US citizens.

    Oops. Maybe you should go apologize now?

  42. hn333 says:

    They should make all cabs use GPS

  43. cde says:

    @Cerb: Because not just anyone can up and start a taxi company. They have an almost guaranteed source of income and a government endorsed monopoly, so as a concession of keeping their badges, they have to follow some rules. Since we are giving you a captive audience, we (the city) will force you to accept a standard form of payment that we believe people want).

    Among those rules, accepting credit cards (which is a way of keeping them honest. You don’t lie about things easily tracked by the IRS and local tax authorities)

    Plus, this is a concession the taxi unions had to accept in order to get the rate increase they wanted.

  44. hn333 says:

    Can we all stop talkin about trollkiller now? This is getting silly.

  45. Pylon83 says:

    @Cerb:
    I suppose I see it as CC’s have become an accepted and expected mode of payment in nearly every setting. While there are a few businesses out there that refuse to accept credit, that group is quickly dwindling. Also, I think there is some interest in uniformity in the case of a regulated industry. My guess is (I haven’t been in Chicago long) was that before they regulated it, some cab’s took them, others didn’t. This probably created a problem of people hopping in, taking the ride, getting to the destination, and finding out they don’t take CC and it’s the only method the passenger has. In that kind of situation, I think the need for uniformity in the interest of of the public outweighs the obvious problems of regulating the method of payment that a private business takes.

  46. LilKoko says:

    @trollkiller: 4:38 and 4:52.
    First it’s a “joke,” then it’s not a joke and your “original statement” stands.

    The “content” of your character is what came forth in your original post, and shines dulls through in your responses after you were called out on a statement that sounded bigoted. You don’t get “cred” for mentioning Dr. King.

    People are people and there are good and bad all over the place. It’s interesting that you focused on “Nigerian” scams, but fail to mention scammers from anywhere else — and if you pay attention, there are scammers EVERYWHERE (else) — including here!

    You’ve proven my point. And I will not discuss this any further with you.

  47. LilKoko says:

    The “content” of your character is what came forth in your original post, and shines dulls through

  48. LilKoko says:

    DULLS through!

  49. Pylon83 says:

    @hn333:
    I agree. It’s entirely off topic, and rather distracting from the substance of the discussion. Trollkiller said something he shouldn’t have, he’s been raked over the coals for it, lets drop it and move on.

  50. DallasDMD says:

    @czarandy: Link to research plz.

  51. num1skeptic says:

    lilkoko- you are always the first to get offended by some ignorant individual. why even give them the satisfaction of letting them know they got to you.

  52. num1skeptic says:

    dont tell me your surprised to see that the world is not fair and that racists and bigots have the internet also.

  53. Synth3t1c says:

    @trollkiller
    Wow. Just Wow. I would like to start off by saying I registered just to make this comment.

    You were wrongly accused of being a racist. Although someone’s etymological knowledge may not be at the level yours surely is (etymology is the study of the history of words at their transformation over time, to save you the google), rest assured that no one thinks you are a racist. Your are clearly a bigot.
    I find it kind of sad (and a little bit amusing) that you are actually trying to defend what you have said.
    A few things I’d like to let you in on.
    First off, the crime rate for immigrants is _much_ lower than for US citizens. Secondly, don’t try to pass off what you have said as a joke. Although you may have said it as a joke, know that your comments have put a chip on everyone’s shoulder. No one likes to hear stereotypes transformed into jokes. Just because this is the internet doesn’t mean that it suddenly becomes acceptable to say such things. There are places, 4chan.org, that you can go to act like a retard. Finally, know that although people are making a big deal about what you said, you are _wrong_. You made two generalizations; 1.) All cabbies are immigrants. 2.) Immigrants can’t be trusted with credit cards.
    I’m not going to respond to them, I just wanted to point out that you are a bigot. Not because of 1, per say, but because of 2 combined with 1.
    Oh, and I know that you’re skimming this for errors in my grammer, punctuation, or diction, so I’ll save you the trouble: I used etymological terms when I should have used vocabularic terms.

  54. maztec says:

    @TK: Oops. I didn’t realize that I said a) all cabbies skim or b) most cabbies are immigrants. Good job dragging the chat off topic though.

  55. MMD says:

    I have zero sympathy for the cab drivers on this one.

    Credit cards are a way of life, and therefore part of the cost of doing business. I won’t patronize a place that won’t let me pay with credit or debit cards. A business that refuses to take basic forms of payment is a business that I don’t want to support with my money.

  56. trollkiller says:

    @maztec: Don’t worry about it. I understood that when you used the word “they” you were speaking in general.

    I was not trying to drag the chat off topic I was tying it in with other recent credit card topics.

    @czarandy: You hurt my brain. First all illegal immigrants are committing a crime by being here in the first place. So that will throw your numbers way off. Cite please.

    @LilKoko: I “picked on” Nigeria because Nigeria has a history of being lenient on fraud. Do I need to name every country that seems to encourage fraud?
    Thank you for not discussing this with me anymore. I think I would get cramps in my fingers having to type out mile long posts to make you understand an example.

    So can we get back to the topic at hand. If my immigrant statement offended any of you I am sorry. The intention was not to put immigrants in a bad light it was to expose another area that you could be ripped off of your credit card info. I had no particular race or nationality in mind when I made the comment.

  57. ecwis says:

    I was looking for some legitimate conversation to reply to in all these comments but I was sorely disappointed.

  58. ecwis says:

    Oh I did seem to find some legitimate comments before TOLLKILLER started talking

    @GODAWGS7: This is one reason I am hesitant to put luggage in the trunk. I don’t want to be held hostage. If the cabbie refused to take my credit card, I would just leave. He can either accept the payment or not. I’m not going to force him to take my money…

  59. DallasDMD says:

    Man, where was all the outrage over the anti-white racism on that K-Mart credit card story?

  60. Pylon83 says:

    @ecwis:
    Exactly. I’m not even sure if you have cash, offer a credit card, they refuse to take it (but are required to do so by their governing body) that you would be obligated to pay with the cash. They refused an accepted, legal form of payment they are required to accept. Once they refuse payment, I’d just assume the trip was done gratis and leave. If the doesn’t want to open the trunk, write down the cab number, wait in the car (or outside with the door open, and call the cops. After the fact, report him/her to the cab oversight body.

  61. maevro says:

    Wow this thread went downhill fast. Some humans are pricks just by nature, so it really doesn’t matter if they are an immigrant of not. Aren’t we all related to immigrants??

    Anyway, there are plenty of bastard taxi drivers, the ones who will only pick up white people or take the long route with tourists, so why would you expect anything less with them accepting credit cards??

    I had a cab driver not let me pay by credit card for a $11.00 cab ride so I called a cop over and the driver suddenly changed him mind.

  62. Pylon83 says:

    @maevro:
    Why did you bother to call a cop? Why not just get out and walk away. I’m sure he’d change his mind real fast when he realizes that if he wants to get paid he should take your card.

  63. trollkiller says:

    @Pylon83: Most likely they did not want to be arrested for theft of service (or whatever thay call it there)

  64. Cerb says:

    Give me convenience, OR give me death! Much more fitting than the old freedom thing.

  65. Galls says:

    @sleze69:

    Cab drivers are just pawns, they do not own the car, company, or medallion. I use to do a lot of work with the TLC I know.

    The real reason they do not want to take credit cards, aka exact change, is because they do not get as much in tips, where half of their income comes from. Most of the fares go to the owner

  66. Pylon83 says:

    @trollkiller:
    I don’t think they could if you offered a legal form of payment and they refused. “Officer, he didn’t pay me” “I gave him my credit card, which he is required by NY/Chicago/etc. to take, and he refused it.” Officer:”Take the credit card or let him go”

  67. Pylon83 says:

    @trollkiller:
    I will say that I think it would be an entirely different situation if the card was declined, but if he simply refuses to accept it as payment, you’re not on the hook for anything. It would be similar to you offering to pay with a $10 bill, and the driver saying he will only accept $5 bills.

  68. trollkiller says:

    @Pylon83: I agree that the person would be doing nothing wrong if they walked away after not being allowed to pay with a credit card, but what would stop the cabbie from telling a cop that you just walked away without trying to pay?

    If the passanger calls a cop to the scene it proves they are not trying to rip off the driver.

    Officer: the cab driver says you refused to pay him

    You; I offered a credit card

    Driver: No he didn’t

    Unless you are clean cut, white and over 40
    Officer: Hands behind your back, you are going to jail.

    It would not be right but it would be reality.

  69. ecwis says:

    @TROLLKILLER: I disagree with your assumption that the cop will believe the cabbie. I don’t think cab drivers and police have a great relationship in NY…
    and even if they did, the patron could just say, well here’s my card, want to accept it or not? If the patron was willing to pay, I doubt that any NYPD officer waste his time arresting him/her.

  70. trollkiller says:

    @ecwis: Maybe not in NY, but the police up there don’t seem to mind wasting time and arresting innocent people, if Operation Handbag is any indication.

    Think about it from a cop’s point of view, if a cab driver accuses someone on skipping out on a fare, most times the cab driver is truly a victim. On the other hand, how many times has the cop heard from a shoplifter or real fare jumper, “I’ll pay for it”.

    Not knowing the real truth of the matter, the cop is most likely going to side with the most plausible victim, the cab driver.

    Safest thing is to call a cop and let them know the cab is refusing payment.

  71. sibertater says:

    @xtc46:

    I have never been in a cab where the driver spoke English as a first language.

  72. SecureLocation says:

    They may take ‘em but they sure as hell aren’t happy about it.

  73. cuiusquemodi says:

    @num1skeptic: I’m certainly not an immigrant. My ancestors, sure, but I was born and raised in this country same as a great many others. An immigrant is someone who they themselves moves from one country to another. Even the Native Americans could be considered immigrants, given that they came across the Bering Land Straight. Anywhere humans are that they didn’t originally evolve/get created could be called an immigrant, according to your criterion.

    Not that that’s particularly relevant to this discussion.

  74. trollkiller says:

    @trollkiller: Correction, Operation Lucky Bag. [consumerist.com]

  75. Her Grace says:

    Melbourne cabbies have had cc readers for a long time. Strangely, there have been no big identity theft/skimming busts yet–none at all, to my knowledge.

  76. crypticgeek says:

    Holy crap, can’t we all just get along? Thanks to the people who hijacked half this thread to have a discussion about racism that’s completely unrelated to the topic at hand. Welcome to the Internet, people have opinions you might consider racist. Shocking, I know, but this doesn’t mean you should engage them in a lengthy pointless discussion about some off hand remarks unrelated to the topic at hand.

    As far as credit in cabs, I think it’s perfectly reasonable. Considering the taxi business is a government regulated monopoly, I think it’s not egregious to ask them to take credit. If they don’t like it, they can go set up a different business with a practically guaranteed source of income from a captive customer base. Oh wait…

  77. StevieD says:

    The credit card fees are a fixed fee PLUS a percentage of the transaction.

    The percentage is not an issue. I can, and so can Taxi cap drivers, adjust prices for the percentage.

    It is the fixed fee that is the issue. Credit card companies take the first $0.30 to $0.50 or more of every credit card transaction. For a buck or two cab ride that fixed fee is the killer.

    I suspect most cab fares are quite small as the customer is traveling from office to lunch etc. That means the credit card FIXED FEE is eating the lunch of the cabby.

    BTW most businesses can handle the CC fees on big ticket goods as the merchant just adds the CC fee into the selling price of the goods. It is at the other end that we have the problem…. do we add $0.50 to every $3 item thinking you MIGHT use a CC and only buy that item, or do we hope that you buy enough $3 items that the CC fixed fee becomes negligible?

    Stop using CC’s for trivial tranasctions. Do yourself and the merchant a favor.

  78. WhatsMyNameAgain says:

    @czarandy:
    @trollkiller:

    Jesse Jackson will have his ass out waiting for the apology.

    That’s it….

    Kiss it…..

    Apologize…………..

    apologize….

  79. eelmonger says:

    The article says that the customer they tested this with said he only had a credit card, and then faulted a cabbie for saying “it better be good”, citing that passengers can pay in cash if cards are declined. But their passenger said he didn’t have cash so…yeah. Plus that doesn’t sound like a refusal to me.

  80. y2julio says:

    @alceste: These asshole cabbies agreed to it when they were given the fare increase. It was part of the agreement. They were required to accept Credit Card readers and have GPS systems installed. Don’t agree to something if you are going to try to slime your way out if it.

  81. y2julio says:

    @Cerb: They accepted it when they received the fare hike they asked.

  82. y2julio says:

    @num1skeptic: They agreed to having to accept Credit Cards when they received the fare hike they wanted. No one forced them. If they didn’t want to accept Credit Cards they could have rejected the agreement.

  83. y2julio says:

    @Cerb: They accepted it when they received the fare hike they asked.

  84. y2julio says:

    @hn333: They ARE required to add GPS units too. The recently went to strike about it. only 10-15% went on strike. These cabbies sure are assholes. They wanted a fare hike. They city gave it to them on two conditions. They need to accept credit cards and GPS units must be installed in all yellow cabs.

  85. y2julio says:

    @StevieD: If they don’t want to take Credit Cards tell them to give us back the fare hike we gave them.

  86. veronykah says:

    Is anyone actually surprised by this?
    There is a significant percentage of cab drivers in NYC that do whatever they please. Common knowledge.
    I can cite numerous times when I was trying to get a cab, I worked in nightclubs, at about 5 am on a saturday/sunday morning going to Brooklyn. Good luck. When they have the ON DUTY sign on, they can’t pick and choose their destination. I remember a particular Halloween sometime very late/early maybe 3 am. EVERY cab going downtown on 5th ave had their off duty lights on and would only pull over and ask where you were going before letting you in the car. They would only travel in Manhattan. I walked from 23rd/5th to ave b/7th rather than deal with their ridiculousness trying to get myself home to BK.
    After many altercations and eventually going to taxi court, I quit taking cabs. I can’t be bothered to pay someone that kind of money to drive me somewhere and have to deal with that level of BS.

  87. jamar0303 says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever had to deal with that in a taxi here in China. Then again, here, only certain taxis take credit card and they’re clearly marked with the logos of the cards they accept. They do accept subway passes as payment, though.

  88. missdona says:

    What pisses me off is that the NYC TLC used getting credit cards & GPS into the cabs as their excuse for raising fares a couple of years ago. Now, once they’re required to get them in, they’re striking about it. Hypocracy at it’s best.

  89. missdona says:

    @y2julio: Sorry, just saw your post.

  90. Keirmeister says:

    I recently was in a NYC cab with a credit card reader. My friend tried to pay with a card…the screen went through the motions, and even asked how much we wanted to tip the driver.

    Right as the transaction was about to complete, it went blank.

    We asked the cab driver what was up, and he said, “oh, you have to tell me you want to pay by credit card before I start the meter!”

    That sounded like BS, but it was late, we had some cash, and didn’t feel like getting into it.

    Thanks for confirming it was total crap. We’ll know better next time!

  91. macgyver314 says:

    @Cerb:
    Agreed

  92. JustAGuy2 says:

    They can disable the card transaction by hitting the “cash button” once the trip is over.

    Best strategy is to tell the driver “I’m using a credit card” when you’re about a block from your destination. He can’t slow-roll the rest of the trip, then, and he can’t say “too late, I already entered cash.”

    If the credit card machine really isn’t working, and it’s a credit-card equipped cab (i.e. there’s a screen in the seatback), the driver’s not allowed to pick up passengers, so you just got a free ride.

    @Keirmeister: That was a line of bull, they need to know it’s a card at the end of the trip, not before they start the meter.

  93. Pylon83 says:

    @JustAGuy2:
    It would seem to me that if they press the “cash” button before they know the customer is paying cash, that’s the drivers problem, not the customers. Some people are too quick to roll over when they are told something, and say “Oh, OK, well, I guess you’re right”. I’ve never been to NYC, but here in Chicago they have all the taxi rules and regs posted in the backseat of the cabs, so you have a quick-reference as to the rules they have to follow, so there is no reason to say “i didn’t know they had to take CC’s”

  94. dmbbnl429 says:

    About a month ago in Brooklyn I was taking a cab home (in park slope), swiped my cc when I got to my house, followed the prompts on the screen, included the tip, transaction went through and as I was about to get out the driver demanded cash. I explained to him that I just paid and he said he turned the meter off and I had to pay cash. I was tired, annoyed, hungry and have to pee so I cut what would have been a 20 minute argument down to 5 minutes, paId the cash, asked for a receipt (didn’t give him a tip) and immediately called 311. 311 gave me a claim number with the TLC, no one ever called me back so I called my bank (because I was charged) and filed a charge back. Got my $8.50 back, no questions asked.

    If some driver wants to try this crap again after I pay, I will get out of the cab and that will be the end of it. Cash is as good as credit/debit, if you don’t like that I can use plastic, don’t drive a cab.

  95. JustAGuy2 says:

    @Pylon83:

    True, but the tech is pretty new, so people are still generally paying cash.

    I don’t want to get into an argument with the driver, generally, and I’m happy to pay for the ride (he drove, I pay), so if I give him a fair chance, I’m comfortable with that.

  96. @forgottenpassword: I think it’s nuts too. In Chicago most (all?) cabs have card readers, and before THAT, if you were going to or from the airport, you could pay by CC over the phone (for suburban cabs from the airport, you basically had to phone for them; the city prevented them from queueing to compete with city cabs for fares).

    If a cab attempted to refuse my credit card, I’d look at them like they were crazy and then I’d call dispatch.

  97. y2julio says:

    @macgyver314: how can you agree? Did you even read my comments? The agreed to accepting Credit Cards when they got the fare hike that they wanted. They can’t go back on the agreement they signed.

  98. Pylon83 says:

    @Eyebrows McGee:
    All cabs in Chicago are required to accept CC’s. Some of them have readers, some don’t. I’ve been given trouble a few times, and I just say “this is all I have” and they usually oblige (albeit angrily). I don’t tell them before I get in though, I just present it at the end of the ride.

  99. @Pylon83: Thanks. :) I mostly only take them airport-to-suburbs, not within the city, and those have had readers for years (because the fares start around $25).

  100. tomcatv1 says:

    I don’t ride cabs that much but the few I’ve taken with readers have worked fine. I actually give these guys more of a tip. I’ve only had one that didn’t work and there was something going on with the network and I just paid with cash.

  101. azgirl says:

    When I was in Europe in 2000, they took credit cards– what gives?

  102. DeeJayQueue says:

    @trollkiller:
    I’m thinking the convo would go more like:

    Cabbie: Ok here we are, that’ll be $37.50

    Me: Right, well here’s my credit card…

    Cabbie: I don’t take those.

    Me: Well, we’re in NYC, and you’re supposed to, you’ve got the slider right here, and the Visa logo on the window…

    Cabbie: Well, I don’t take credit cards, cash only. The machine is broken.

    Me: Ok, we’ve got 2 choices here because I don’t have cash. I can call 311, then 911, and let the police handle this, or if your card reader is truly broken, you can use the manual slider that you’re required to keep to make an imprint of my card and let me be on my way.

    Cabbie: I dont’ have one of those things, and my card reader is broken, I can only take cash.

    Me: Ok, have it your way.

    -get on the phone to the police, shortly thereafter the officer shows up-

    Officer: The cab driver says you refused to pay him.

    Me: I offered a credit card, he says his card reader is busted.

    Cabbie: No he didn’t.

    Officer: Really? Why would someone try to stiff a cabbie, then call the cops and wait inside the cab for them to show up? Either take this guy’s credit card or let him be on his way.

    Cabbie: If I let him go I won’t get paid for the fare!

    Officer: Sorry about your luck.

  103. 92BuickLeSabre says:

    @y2julio: Just because you’ve said it multiple times doesn’t make it true. It was not part of any agreement. It was an independent decision by the Taxi and Limo Commission. And it was opposed not only by the drivers but by some of the owners as well.

    And it is not about taxes. It is about the fact that all credit card transactions require a minimum 5% surcharge that comes out of the cabbies take. The CC companies negotiated with the city to charge a much higher per use charge to the cabbies than they charge in normal circumstances, and it is split between the city and the card company. This includes, for example, the tolls paid off of the credit card. (So the cabbie is essentially paying part of your toll for you now if you use a credit card.)

    And given that most folks tip cabbies poorly, 5% eats into half or even all of what their tip would have been.

    It’s a raw deal, and I won’t support it and still only paying cash for my taxi rides.

    Part of being a good consumer is recognizing when the other side is getting screwed too.

  104. paigeken says:

    I used a credit card for the first time this weekend in a cab and the driver yelled profanities as I was leaving the cab.

    This is the wrong way for them to vent their frustration. Now I am more inclined to use credit cards, and I definitely will take their badge number and call 311 the next time a driver gives me any type of hostile attitude for using a credit card, which I am well within my rights to use.

  105. Beerad says:

    @JustAGuy2: I think that a cabbie “slow-rolling” to increase the fare is pretty much a myth — since there’s a flat fee plus the meter ticking for distance, short trips proportionally make cabbies a lot more money than long ones. A cabbie would much rather get you out of the taxi and a new customer in rather than drive around the block a few times to bump your bill. IMHO, anyway.

  106. Beerad says:

    @92BuickLeSabre: Do you have factual support for your discussion about the higher charges negotiated between the CC companies and the city? I’d be very interested in checking that out. I would guess that it has to do with the higher cost of wireless transmission of the payment data, but I’m curious — hadn’t heard about that at all.

  107. Wormfather says:

    This is important to know. Under MasterCard/Visa rules A merchant cannot refuse your credit card for reasons of a minimum fee they also cannot charge a transaction fee. Once they aggree to accept credit cards they have to accept all under all financial circumstances, otherwise they can be charged $5K per instance.

    Someone needs to tell the cabbies that its the cost of doing buisness.

  108. 92BuickLeSabre says:

    @Beerad: Not surprisingly the issue got very little publicity – a lot less sexy than talking about “tracking devices” – but for every cabbie I spoke to, this was the real concern.

    The Taxi Worker’s Alliance hasn’t updated their webpage since October (a sign of why they didn’t succeeded in getting the word out perhaps?)

    But here is an editorial from the NY Daily News in October:

    [www.nydailynews.com]

    And from the TWA in the NY Daily News:

    [www.nydailynews.com]

  109. Beerad says:

    @92BuickLeSabre: That is interesting, although it seems on the surface that the increased fee is to cover the costs of the GPS tracking and the wireless payment ability.

    The whole issue is fairly complicated, and I’m not entirely sure where I stand on it overall. 5% is a pretty hefty hit, although I have to think it affects an overall very small percentage of actual transactions (meaning overwhelmingly people still pay cash). I think the GPS maps are nice, especially since so many people (and drivers) don’t necessarily have the best grasp of locations/directions (although it’s asinine that the drivers don’t get GPS navigation as part of the program).

  110. 92BuickLeSabre says:

    @Beerad: There are at least three real problems with the GPS (in NYC) that I’ve experienced.

    First, as you say, the driver doesn’t actually have access to it – which strikes me as ludicrous.

    Second, the meter, the GPS, and the little TV (which appears to be updated once every 2-3 days and only shows about a 10 minute loop) are linked together. So when one goes down, they all go down. I’ve had one taxi have to shut down completely and go back to the garage and another who lost about 3/4 of a mile before he could get it fixed.

    Third, a huge % of fares are Manhattan to Manhattan – where GPS is essentially useless (Do you need GPS to get from 1st Ave and 3rd Street to 5th Ave and 83rd Street?) The rest of the fares are primarily Manhattan to Airport and back. Travel within the other boroughs (where GPS might actually be useful given size and lack of a grid) is almost entirely dependent on “call Service”/Gypsy Cabs and not Yellow Cabs.

    Finally, while the 5% may be to pay for these services, the cut is coming from the driver. Which means that while the city and CC company decided to do this, the city is earning ad revenue, the CC company is earning new revenues, and the medallion owners are increasing their take, but the driver is the one actually paying the bill (and remember that the 5% includes non-cash tips and the toll charges.)

    By the way, I’m not a taxi driver or in any way affiliated with the TWA. I’m a standard subway-rider in NYC who takes cabs on weekends, late at night, and when I’m late for work.

  111. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    OT sorta but has anyone else seen the credit card readers on soda and snack machines? I was at the hospital about a week ago and noticed all the snack machines had them. Just too wierd for me. I wouldn’t trust the reader to not store the info nor would I trust the operator.

    But I have used my CC here in L.A. a couple of times when I couldn’t get a ride from the flyover to my house. No issues with the drivers except I was double charged twice once..

  112. Murdermonkey says:

    @xtc46:
    random immigrant isnt racist…its something but immigrant doesnt imply race.

  113. tex1ntux says:

    The reason they hate credit cards is because Visa/MC/etc take a $0.30 transaction fee for every swipe.

    I have a friend who owns a gas station and he pays CC companies +$3,000 a month because of these little fees. A cabbie working 7 days a week picking up 40 people a day would lose $360 a month to credit card transaction fees.

  114. tex1ntux says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer: Yeah, some vending machines at my college recently got “upgraded” to include CC readers.

    On a side note, the cost at all vending machines went up $0.25 . I’m sure the two events are *totally* unrelated. =/