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)