In addition to the bias against high risk passengers and high risk areas, it is important to note the demographics of the drivers. Most of the actively employed taxicab drivers are foreigners, with only 10% of the drivers are American. Around 43% come from the India subcontinent. This might account for the trend on racial discrimination. Moreover, the seminars and trainings for drivers have anti-discrimination topics, but these remain ineffective since most drivers complain of the hefty fees they have to pay to undergo these events.
The drivers also complain of the fare rates since driving out of Manhattan has the same rates as driving within it. Moreover, the fare rates for NY cabs are at an all time low compared to other modes of transportation. How can taxicab drivers afford to refuse passengers? One simple reason for this is the high concentration of passengers and the low availability of taxicabs, which means the demand for taxicabs in the metropolitan area is high while the supply is scarce.
There are only 11,878 taxicabs for the entire New York because of the Hass Act, an act freezing the number of taxicab licenses by awarding medallions to legitimate taxicab operators, franchisees or individuals. The frozen number of licenses also accounts for the steep price these are resold on the market—from $155,000 to $220,000 each license. The high price and limited number of licenses created more people relying on “gypsy” cabs for transportation. Since drivers cannot afford licenses, and that licenses are limited, unregulated and unlicensed taxicab operators proliferate.
Gypsy cabs also pose great danger to the public with their unregulated fare rates, inexperienced drivers, poorly maintained cars and lack of insurance. Gypsy drivers are not the only ones taxicab drivers have to contend with. For Hire Vehicles (FHV), which are legally capable of making pre-arrange trips within the city, are now taking street hails illegally. Moreover, since most people from outside Manhattan deem yellow cabs as inaccessible, FHVs are their new alternative.
The refusal to take Black passengers is not a policy of the cab companies, but rather the personal decision of the drivers. Their decision making process involves the calculation of possible risks, and benefits for taking passengers. Policies regarding the issue are enumerated as follows: 1) the existing policy against refusals with the exception of intoxication or violence of the passenger; 2) TLC’s regulatory function on violations of the taxicabs; 3) Laws against discrimination; and 4) regulations on fare rates of taxicabs.
You will find below (Figure 1) a decision tree outlining the different For the case of NYC taxicab drivers, the four criteria to consider in the policies are: 1) the cost or expenditure; 2) the effectiveness; 3) the timeframe; and lastly, 4) feasibility. The cost of implementing the anti-refusal program is based on the trainings on anti-discrimination and human rights. This training should be determined if it is free or not for the drivers. Since the TLC have been doing this for a while, it is necessary to assess the contents of the course.
Moreover, taxi companies are quick to point out that the modules used are ineffective, and that not every single taxicab drivers are undergoing this course. Other operational costs would be on the arrests, investigation and crackdowns of illegal refusals and also on the complaints hotline which will be an essential evaluative component of the program. The effectiveness of the policy implemented will be indicated by the number of complaints on refusals and also on the degree of satisfaction of cab drivers.
The timeframe for implementation is as soon as possible, or as the monetary resources essential for implementation are approved. Since majority of taxicab operators come from the Manhattan area, the feasibility of implementation of the project is simple in the Manhattan area. The suggestion is to take the implementation process in phases: the first phase will be arrests and monitoring in the Manhattan area; the second phase is the anti-discrimination courses and community service, as penalties for offenders or as a requirement for everyone in their renewal of licenses.
And lastly, a project evaluation phase whereby the effectiveness and feasibility is measured and necessary changes on the set of policies are changed or modified based on dynamic factors. The evaluation of alternatives using criteria will be done during and after the policies’ implementation. The components on the criteria are: cost, effectiveness, timeframe and feasibility. The cost-effective measures on the policies are evaluated vis-a-vis the timeframe and feasibility of the project as a whole.
The success of the policy review is determined by two major factors: budget for the implementation and applicable, cost-effective policies. The training courses on anti-discrimination will surely cost the TLC if it will be free, however, changing the policy so that the course is not free but a required component will generate revenues and also make drivers understand on the importance of racial equality. Another important thing to consider is having a multi-tiered approach to the fare rates on Manhattan and on the outer boroughs.
The increase in rates will benefit cab drivers and also increase tax revenues. Moreover, the increase in rates outside of Manhattan will create the needed resources for fleet-owners to improve their services, and also improve the benefits for drivers (i. e. better insurances) and to have better maintenance of cars. The issue regarding the refusal of NYC Taxicabs to take Black passengers and the refusal to go outside of Manhattan is a multi-tiered problem. In order to pre-solve this nuisance, the policy recommendations should present the vast array of possible actions.
The issues on refusal of Blacks and refusal of destinations outside of Manhattan must be addressed with clear policy interventions. After undergoing the analysis of the NYC taxicab issue, the following recommendations are made: 1. Address the issue on different levels: a) the taxicab drivers; b) the taxicab fleet operators; c) the TLC regulatory board; d) the general awareness and perception on Blacks. 2. The main reason for anti-Black sentiments is misunderstanding. Dialogues between Blacks and the taxicab driver’s associations are important in order to reassess the realities of the drivers’ fears and the risks involved.
Moreover, training courses on discrimination should be mandatory for taxicab drivers. 3. The main reasons for refusal outside of Manhattan are twofold, economic and safety risks. A multi-tiered fare rates should be explored, moreover, safety risks are lessened by precautions, guidelines and through addressing the threat of criminality in general. 4. Reviewing the Hass Act is timely. Since the demand-supply of taxicabs in NY are incongruent, room for abuses and violations remain tolerated. Adding taxicabs will generate competition that would create better services for the public.