The scheme netted 36,000 drivers an extra $8.3 million in cab fares, charging passengers about $5 too much for each ride.
The overcharging wasn’t even that hard for them to pull off – the cabbies would simply change their meter to a higher per-mile fare, reserved for rides in the Nassau and Westchester area.
When activated, the meter would show the new fare code, but I doubt anyone sitting in the back would actually notice. Sadly for the cabbies, the taxi commission did notice – and thanks to recording equipment and GPS tracking, they have been able to determine exactly which drivers were involved.
One driver – Wasim Khalid Cheema overcharged his passengers 574 times in one month, and has now lost his taxi license.
Of course, the cabbies are fighting back, claiming it could all just be one big misunderstanding. According to Bhairavi Desai of the Taxi Workers Alliance, the meters are to blame. Other cabbies join her – mentioning how easy it is to press the wrong button, complaining how small the buttons are on the meter.
Soon, New York taxi’s will be outfitted with updated fare warning systems, which will alert riders to the higher fare, and make them acknowledge the fare change on the rear displays mounted in New York Taxi cabs.