March 31, 2010
posted by Jahanzaib at

I wanted to write about this yesterday but as usual overslept. I'm sitting at JFK taxi hold lot right now and writing this post using IPhone, it makes more sense as I'm going to tell news about mobile technology.
Taxi and limousine commission alongside with Sense networks has launched a new
App called CabSense yesterday, this new App will get your position from GPS on your mobile device and then show cabs using GPS data from yellow cabs GPS system, it will tell you how many cabs are available in the area using 5 stars for maximum chances to 1 star or no cab for lesser chances of available cabs.

App will also guide where to go nearby to hail cab, and upon shaking your iPhone it will also whistle for the cab -- hmm just hail me please -- anyway good App, technology on its best.

Only concern is when drivers went on strike for installing GPS into their cabs, they told TLC will monitor them and it is against constitution, TLC said it will only record pick up or drop off addresses, from this App it is clear that was not true.

Good thing for drivers is they can also browse the map to look for better chance of getting jobs, it might help us not to cruise empty for half hour or even an hour, if driver is not having good luck finding fares, Open the App and look for less competitive location instead of
trying on 6th Avenue.

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La Guardia Airport

March 30, 2010
posted by Jahanzaib at

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Ain't a pit, ain't shit

March 28, 2010
posted by Jahanzaib at

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posted by Jahanzaib at

Spring Talks

March 27, 2010
posted by Jahanzaib at

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Sun rise in Bronx

posted by Jahanzaib at

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Gowanus expressway

posted by Jahanzaib at

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Upper West Side

March 26, 2010
posted by Jahanzaib at

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Apple 5th Avenue.

March 24, 2010
posted by Jahanzaib at

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Taxi Scam was not as big as reported.

March 23, 2010
posted by Jahanzaib at

Well done Taxi and Limousine commission after giving bad name to hard working New Yorkers, TLC today announced that after looking into the records taxi fare scam is not as big as it was reported earlier this week.

In simple words TLC said 36,000 of New York taxi drivers at-least pushed rate 4 onto their meters but about 3,000 did this more than hundred times, now after reviewing those 3,000 so called cheater's record TLC is telling it may be accident rather cheating on fare, as I mentioned in my earlier post.

How about TLC does its work before getting it published? What about the financial punch drivers have taken in less tips or even no tips, as many commenters were saying it on forums? What about the bad mouthed passengers who put drivers in situations like my fare always use to be $5.00 and how is it $7.00, ignoring the fucked up traffic driver had to go through?

Most agnostic thing was the reporting done on this matter by media, no news paper or channel had nerves to come and investigate this matter, come on there are 50,000 licenses taxi drivers in the town, how far did you guys had to go? one block? media was biased and failed miserably in this whole matter, not one of them have mentioned drivers view point on this and kept accusing them of cheating. This is how much respect hard working, tax paying driver have in this town of ourselves. TLC says something and everyone believes with out giving chance to the other side. Sure there were few actual riders, who do take cabs every day and appreciated the job done by city cab drivers, you can see the ironic people still smelling rat in the comments section of the latest news.

I already have made video to explain the matter, it was supposed to be public today but I couldn't finish few parts ,tomorrow I'll finish it up and post it, I just hope that who are still smelling rat can take their nose out of rat hole and see the reality.

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Jackson Heights, Queens

March 21, 2010
posted by Jahanzaib at

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Flatiron Building

posted by Jahanzaib at

I think this is the first skyscraper building in world.

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Spring has sprung

March 20, 2010
posted by Jahanzaib at

Wow spring has already sprung and whole week was blessed with sun, I discovered weather does have effect on attitude, great weather translates to great attitude by drivers and riders alike, I also discovered accusation by TLC has played major role in my earnings this week, I've been doing (playing) survey with almost all of my passengers that if they have ever felt that driver has overcharged them and on end of every ride scored more in tips, even guy from Boston tipped $5 on $7 fare to a Yankees fan, isn't that great? I just told him about what he needs to look for when he is in taxi. This is how I start conversation, may I ask you few questions? when they affirm the request, my course is like
1) Do you live in New York? if yes
2) How often do you take cabs?
3) Does the fare from point A to point B is always similar?

I'm telling you it is fun to do this and later explain it to the passengers about TLC's accusations, until now only one passenger complained he has a receipt which says Nassau-West.

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American Museum of Natural History

March 19, 2010
posted by Jahanzaib at

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Cabbies talk about the fare scam

March 18, 2010
posted by Jahanzaib at

In this short audio cut from The Brian Lehrer Show Cabbies talked about the fare scam, which has given very bad reputation to NYC cab drivers.

I'm going to make a video and post it on my blog to explain that it is not temptation for making more money but most of the time this is just a mistake.

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O' the Irish.

March 17, 2010
posted by Jahanzaib at

Everyone is an Irish on Saint Patrick's day but the cab drivers, happy St. Patrick's day every one, don't get too drunk otherwise cabbies won't pick you up.

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All drivers are cheats.

March 16, 2010
posted by Jahanzaib at

So this news is all over the place and TLC once again did a wonderful job for blaming almost every working cab driver in NYC for ripping money out of passenger's pockets, In this whole process TLC once again did not forget to remind productivity of GPS system installed in city medallion cabs, over which drivers went on strike, in every incident TLC's main objective seems to keep telling New Yorkers that drivers were wrong and GPS is big benefit to the public, whether it be lost and found items or overcharging matters.

So here is how this new story started, a cabbie was ripping passengers by running meter on out of town rate, one passenger complained and upon pulling his record TLC found that he was doing this for past six months and probably made $40,000 extras than he should have made in this period.

TLC took a further step and pulled out records for past two years for every cab driver and found that about 36,000 out of 48,422 drivers did the same thing and ripped $8.3 millions out of passengers pockets dishonestly. Question is as a cab driver do I believe this?
Not at all and here is my argument, there are 13,357 medallion taxis in NYC and most of them work on two 12 hours shifts accommodating two drivers per day, In Ideal condition there are 26,714 drivers working full time as cab drivers, now some drivers work 6 days or some may work 5 days, on their day offs part time drivers take the seat, lets assume industry accommodates 10,000 part timers and total number of working drivers sums up to around 36,000 drivers. Matter of fact is huge number of license holders do not work as cab drivers but keeping their licenses for some bad times as an opportunity plus there are fleet owners who have to keep their license but are not working drivers, in this situation TLC just told the new yorkers that every single driver is ripping them off, best message that could have been sent to all visitors, well done TLC.

Now lets come to the meter and GPS, first thing is why the meter not automated as it is when drivers take toll bridges and tunnels? What is purpose of GPS connected to the meter if process can't be automated? Taxi meter itself acts weired on times, for example when driver tries to put meter on hire some times it gives you "Con" and in this situation when drivers try to put meter on hire too quick it can jump to rate 2 or rate 3 depending upon how fast driver tried to hire it. But it is not done willfully or on purpose to cheat, it just happens sometimes and then drivers stop the meter and put it on hire again, but in future if TLC decides to come up with statistics it can again tell new yorkers and send message to tourists visiting new yorker and this is how new yorkers treat them, because cab drivers are new yorkers too.

Now after telling all drivers have done it, will TLC take time to actually look into the situation and tell how many of them did it just by mistake and then followed the standard procedure of stopping the meter and putting it on hire again? Basically TLC blamed meter fault onto drivers, even if TLC as it claims have found almost all drivers have done it and made it sound like they did it on purpose, why not now fine them to make big bucks for the city in this hard economic times? TLC wont do that because only purpose I think was to give drivers bad name. In the same article TLC after accusing 36,000 drivers, gave some what real number of cheats to about 3,000 drivers, which is still a huge number almost 5% of total drivers but 36,000 and 3,000 have a huge difference.

Other possible reason can be to stop drivers demanding their rights and raise in wages and not to get people support in this regard because now majority will think they make their money anyway, when in America average income has risen to almost 100% in past twenty years,there was decline in drivers income, current fare rate is cheapest in the nation and car leases are highest in the world. When is TLC going to look into that so even those 3,000 who have done cheating wont do it.

You might want to read about this matter on Taxicab Almanac written by fellow cab driver, and you should because he writes 1000 times better than I do and have full command on English language.

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Not my day.

March 13, 2010
posted by Jahanzaib at

Last Friday I went to all five boroughs, I did eight trips to Brooklyn, three to queens and when I got frustrated enough by not getting any trips within Manhattan limits in busy Friday night I got fare going to Staten Island after long time, upon returning from Staten Island, finally I picked up this young guy in front of Pianos on Ludlow street going to upper west side.

he told me to go to West 68th street and Broadway, it was around 3:30 in the morning and after getting out of east village traffic, trip was smooth and quick to the destination with nice fare on the meter.

I asked the guy where did he wanted to stop after turning on Broadway from West 66th street, "are we at 68th and Broadway?" he asked me, I pulled up in front of AMC theater between west 68th and west 69th streets and told him that we are at the destination.

"Ok, listen I got to go to the building to bring you the money" he told me, I had done this in the past and would have done this again, as taxi driver one has to run into this kind of situation sometimes. But problem was there is no residential building in this block, which raised a red flag and I told him he can pay by credit card.

"What happened is my friend took my jacket and my violet was in it" he said, and I asked him that he did know this situation from the beginning which he denied by saying he realized it upon arriving at the destination. Keeping myself calm I asked him "Where do you live?" and his answer frustrated me more, "I live in Chelsea" and continued saying "I came here to see my friend and she will pay for the ride" OKAY.

"Can you call your friend to come and pay, I will wait here" I told him and he replied that she was not picking up the phone and he promised me to come back with the money. To be on secure side I told him to leave something behind and bring me money upon which he said he did not have anything and I reminded him about his phone. "I can't leave my phone" he told me and continued "can you write me down your address and I'll mail you checque for $200" yeah right, "Sir, I don't need $200, all I need is metered fare which is $19 and some change" I told him. "I think you pretty much don't have any other option" he told me and I reminded him all the options I had given him and warned him about hidden option of taking him to the police. "You can't take me to the police" he said, at this point I called 911, told them the situation and my location.

Now all above conversation took place in very calm way without getting angry, just like conversation between friends. After 911 call things started working out, his friend picked up the phone and miraculously remembered the address which was 155 west 68th street, and more amazingly I got call from the police with in two minutes after the 911 call asking my location as I had moved to the given address from prior location that I gave to 911 operator, they told me to stay there and don't move.

Officers came and asked me about what happened then asked his side of story and told him same thing that he knew all of this before hailing the cab, almost two more minutes had passed when officers after waiting for the friend, asked him about the friend.

"What is your friend's name and apartment?" officers asked him.
"Puja and apartment 40 something (I don't remember exact number)" he told them, he even spelled the name for them, to me sounded like Indian name.
One of the officer went inside and came back with a white girl in her pajamas and bear footed, who was asking officer why would driver call you guys up for? Now I was waiting her to pay and she is standing by the curb and finally complained that it was too cold, officer told her to get inside of the cab and told me to hurry up she is bear footed. WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO WITH THIS? I'm fucking waiting for getting paid and had lost almost 20 minutes in this shit, meter was stopped 20 minutes ago. She got into the car and asked "what do I do with this?" holding credit card in her hand, I looked at officer told him meter was stopped and can not be reversed, she might have to pay with cash for this ride.

"I can pay you $10 or by credit card, hurry up decide" she bitched, I was calm during this whole process but started loosing it now with her attitude. Officer asked me if I can take the credit card, I put the last payment in refusal and started the meter on flat rate so she can use her credit card. She paid, got out of the cab and said "I don't understand why he called the police for?, hey driver, you know you are stupid" I lost it now and called her fucking bitch , before situation get worst, officer instructed me to move my car, which I did but frowned with anger.

But day had not finished yet, while I was stopped at light, I saw one black guy, who got refused by two other cabs, on green I pulled over to him and he asked me if I can take him to the Bronx, Only borough I haven't been during night and I told him yes, he was coming from gentle-men's club, nothing gentle happens in there though. On his destination he selected cash and did not wanted receipt, waiting for him to pay I looked at him and he asked me how did he do do this?, holding a credit card in his hand and I told him that he selected cash from there and has to be cash now, "I'm sorry I have only $13.00" he told me, fare was was $17 and some change. I told him to give me $13.00 and told him It was not my day.

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Family Guy lover.

March 4, 2010
posted by Jahanzaib at

Senior citizens A.K.A old people do not get into my cab that often because I have Ford Escape Hybrid and it feels like jumping onto a horse (pony at least) in trying to get in. This vehicle is high, I don't know how TLC has approved these SUV look alike cabs.

Yesterday there was multi car accident on upper level of Queens borough bridge and second avenue took the punch for traffic in the evening, I was stuck in the traffic and also couldn't find any fares, I decided to turn onto 66th street in order to get out of second avenue traffic. Viola! I spot an old guy who was walking with cane, and hailing cane for the cab, based on previous experience I thought he will refuse me.

When I stopped he did not refuse me and took his time to jump into the back of the cab, I realized he was talking on the phone with some "baby" A.K.A girlfriend. He told me to goto 86th street and York Avenue.

Third avenue had lots of traffic also, stuck in traffic I started listening his conversations. I got surprised when he asked her about "Do you watch family guy?" and I think she did not have any idea about Family Guy and then he started explaining her what Family Guy is, and she must watch it.

"It is a cartoon but not for the children, they pretty much say anything they want to about controversial things, like gays, religion and all that kind of stuff that we can't say, and get away with it." he said.

I topped myself asking him does he watch South Park? because I like South Park better, but he is for sure oldest Family Guy lover I've seen so far.

Crooked Cabbie Wasim Khalid Cheema

March 2, 2010
posted by Jahanzaib at

I first read about Wasim Khalid Cheema here then followed up the news on Daily News. Apparently Cheema made $40,000 extra than he deserved by tricking the meter, which is also biggest fraud in TLC history.

For those who don't know a taxi meter in NYC has four different modes and rates, rate 1 is regular which is used in five boroughs of NYC, rate 2 starts the meter from $15.00 instead of $2.50 regular and used only for Newark Liberty Airport, rate 3 is flat rate negotiated between driver and the rider and usually is used when you are going out of state, upstate New York or Suffolk county in Long Island, rate 4 is called "double the meter" and used for Nassau and Westchester Counties, rate 4 get in effect after crossing the city limit and meter start charging double price.

What this crook was doing is to use rate 4 instead of rate 1, with in the five boroughs. Which means if your regular fare is $5.00, you will end up paying him $10.00 fare. What surprised me is he got reported after six months of doing this act, no body ever complained? But thank to the passenger who actually took the right step to complaint to TLC, and making this industry get rid of him.

He gave bad name to all other hard working cabbies out there, but punch was thrice hard for me and cabbies like me out there, as his name suggests he is Muslim,Pakistani origin and a cab driver, and I happen to have all these titles too.Bad news always spread faster than good news, also bad news stuck in mind for long period than good news do.

You can follow up comments section on Daily news to see kind of impact his action get for other cabbies.

Update : going again through this post I have noticed the mistake I made regarding different rate modes, below is the right discription of rates in NYC yellow cab's meter and there are five different rates not four.

1) Regaular rate which starts the meter at $2.50 and charges $0.40 per 1/5th of the miles, used in all five boroughs.

2) Flat rate from JFK to Manhattan and vis-a-versa starts meter at flat rate of $45.00

3) from any of five boroughs to Newark Liberty Airport and starts the meter at $15.00, after that $0.40 standrad per 1/5th of mile.

4) Rate for Naussau and Westchester counties, meter will start at $2.50 and drops $0.40 per 1/5th of the mile within NYC limits and after city limit it will charge $0.80 per 1/5th of mile.

5) Negotitiad rate between driver and passanger and exclusively used for upstate New York, Suffolk county and out of state rides.

* meter also drops if cab is moving slower than 8 MPH and it is $0.40 per one minute and $0.80 per minute on rate 4.

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Longest Trip.

posted by Jahanzaib at

I had the longest trip within city limits this Saturday and I'm not quite happy about that trip, because it made me feel like I was cheated on.

I picked up two young ladies in their early twenties prior to this trip, one of them was Hispanic and other one was learning Spanish, at least she knew all the bad words, which I happen to learn while working in Spanish Harlem for three years. One who was in process of learning Spanish was talking in broken Spanish "yo necesito un grande pinga", I guess just for the purpose not to let driver know, what are they talking about,she was saying it in Spanish, but mis-fortunately if you speak Spanish with me, I can get 40% meanings out of it, I dropped them off in front of Webster hall on E11th street and was told to wait for their home boy to come and pay, after about two minutes I told them "Rapido senora", and she started asking my name, "Jose" I told them, she did not believe me and kept insisting my real name upon which I pointed them to my license, I was more interested in getting money and move on in busy night than having conversation with them, which eventually happened.

As soon they got off, I saw a couple standing on sidewalk and looking towards road, I made eye contact with them and they were looking for a cab but like visitors were not hailing it. When I affirmed them with my head notion they got into my cab. The guy was in his early 50's and girl maybe in her 30's, at least she appeared to be in her thirties.

"Ok two stops, one on 14th street and third avenue subway station then we are going uptown" he told me, I started the meter. He started convincing the girl that he can drop her off on her place and she agreed on 13th street.

"Change of plan, first stop is going to be Williamsburg" he told me, I asked where in Williamsburg? N 9th street and Bedford, this time girl answered my question.
Girl was British or she might be Aussie, I love British accent especially when speaker is female, while driving I put my ears on their conversations, which were not very long, as they turned into kissing spree, like world is going to end and they don't have anytime left. I usually get little nervous in these situations as sometimes somehow people think of cab's backseat their private bedroom, and go forth for the act that is suppose to be done in bedroom in privacy. They did not go that far till we arrived at first stop, I still have to hear how a girl moans in British accent in excitement.

"Now we are going all the way up in the Bronx" he told me as girl stepped out of my cab. I live in the Bronx and I have much better Idea about Bronx than any of other outer boroughs. "Where in the Bronx?" I asked him, "Oak street" he told me. Not knowing where it is, I asked him what neighborhood is this street in?. He told me to take Bronx river parkway and he will tell me from there.

I lived in that part of the Bronx for five years, it was shame I had no clue where is Oak street, thinking it may be tiny street, I started driving. Took the BQE to RFK Bridge(A.K.A Triborough Bridge) to Bruckner Expressway into Bronx River Parkway, When I crossed the Bronx Zoo exit, I asked him what exit he wanted to take, he was asleep and did not answer. I turned on interior lights and knocked the partition, eventually he woke up and asked me "where are we?" I told him the location and he told keep on going, when I approached near 233rd street exit, which is the last exit in the Bronx, I asked him again " Do you want to take this exit?", "Next exit, after this exit" he told me. It turned me off and without showing anger I told him that will be Yonkers not Bronx and doubled the meter, failed to understand why would he lie to me about his destination?.I was more angry at myself as I lived in this area and knew Oak street in Yonkers very well, not realizing this for the whole ride made me curse myself.

I took the exit, he was not very far from the highway, On Yonkers Avenue he told me to stop by the bank, so he can get enough money to pay me, I told him he can use his debit card to pay, which he ignored. Before stopping in front of bank, I made sure there is no run away route. He got out, went to ATM machine and I kept looking while standing illegally on Yonkers Avenue in turning lane, Five minutes passed, he kept looking into his valet standing in front of ATM, at this point I thought to call 911, first he lied about his destination, did not have enough cash? to me it sounded perfect fare jumping story. But before I'd made 911 call, he started coming towards me. "I can't find my bank card" he told me, "we have to go to my apartment, to get you money" he finished. This was worst for me, without letting him know that I'm pissed right now I started driving, kept thinking to call 911, I was about 90% sure he would jump the fare.

"I have credit card" he spoke up, biggest relief for me, "you can pay by credit card" I told him, "I don't see how?" he explained. I stopped the meter and told him to follow the instructions on the touch screen. He completed the transaction and paid $10 tips, fare was around $80, Tips were good but I was more happy to secure the fare price.

So in this trip I drove through four out of five boroughs, which made this the longest trip with in city limits for myself.

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