Among the city’s many contingency plans in the event of a transit strike, the Taxi and Limousine Commission is planning group rides. NY1’s Paul Lombardi spoke with drivers and riders Thursday to find out their thoughts on the proposal, and he filed this report.
"I'm friendly. I'll share a cab," one New Yorker said Thursday.
Good, you might have to.
Thousands of New Yorkers might be sharing the backseat of a cab with complete strangers if there's a transit strike. It's all part of the Taxi and Limousine Commissions' Strike Contingency plan, although there isn’t a plan for how they'll split the meter.
“New Yorkers are going to work things out,” said TLC Commissioner Matthew Daus. “They're tough, and they're resilient."
"Why would you have a problem sharing with strangers? It's the season to be jolly and to be merry,” said one New Yorker. “I think it's good for people to learn how to share."
But not all New Yorkers are ready for that little lesson on wheels.
“My concern is a security issue, and also if people who are kooks or robbers know this system is in place, will that incent them?" asked one woman.
While there is no "screening" plan in place, the TLC will send officials to group pick-up sites in the five boroughs to facilitate who goes where with whom. Up to four riders per cab would split the fare as they see fit, plus pay $$2 per head on top of that
The TLC says it will charge the maximum penalty allowed by law for price gouging.
“Cabbies are New Yorkers, and actions speak louder than words,” said Daus. “After 9/11 and Flight 587, they gave thousands of free rides. They've helped the city out. They've helped the city out, and we're so confident they'll do the right thing."
Cabbies NY1 spoke with say they have to go along with the ride whether they like it or not.
“If we have to, we will,” said one driver. “I think it's good [for business.]"
"I see no problem with it,” said another. “Whatever they tell us to do, we do. We don't know yet [if it’s good or bad for business.] It's my first time, so whatever comes on, we go with that."
NY1 decided to ask the riders whether the TLC plan has wheels to roll on, so we asked three different riders with three different destinations how they would split the fare.
“[We’d pay] $$5 each,” said one woman.
“[I’d pay] to my destination - watever it would have cost to go to my destination anyway,” said another rider.
A third added: “I think we should split it equally."
But never underestimate a quick-thinking New Yorker.
“It's basic math,” said one man. ”We're New Yorkers, and we'll get through. We can do it."
Let's hope so, because New Yorkers may be driven to share a little more this holiday season.
- Paul Lombardi
Contingency plans prepared by the city and by the Taxi and Limosine Commission are detailed below, and are also available on the city's website at www.nyc.gov/transitstrike and at the TLC's website at http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/html/transit_strike.html.