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BatteryPark.TV has reported on the growing problem of town cars acting as taxis, illegally soliciting fares by hustling pedestrians on Vesey Street, blocking the street. This problem is rampant all over Manhattan. In fact, even out-of-state cars are picking up passengers, cutting off legitimate yellow cabs.
Why have the police and TLC seemingly turned a blind eye to these flagrant violations?
After investigating the matter, and interviewing several town car drivers, the word is out amongst the drivers that they can act as regular taxis with impunity. Two different drivers gave the same theory. They believe that the companies which own the majority of yellow cab medallions have prevented the issuance of more medallions, causing a critical shortage of taxis at the peak rush hour of 5:00 PM (among other reasons). Mayor Bloomberg has addressed this by instructing the TLC and police to not ticket the town cars when they compete with the taxis, according to the drivers we interviewed.
If those theories have any merit, it would seem to be an effective response by the Mayor to deal with a very corrupted taxi medallion system. However, the unintended consequences have been the chaos on the streets caused by the dangerous town car drivers, and the harassment of pedestrians.
Security officials from two large corporations on Vesey Street have told BatteryPark.TV of numerous stories of unruly town car drivers refusing to leave the taxi pick up areas designated on the street. None of the town cars seen on Vesey Street are part of any official corporate dispatch system, and most of them operate illegally out of bus stops and “no standing” zones.