Fake Taxicab in NYC: Not an Uber Problem

Uber haters love to point to cab problems when they're found in Uber, but don't acknowledge problems unique to taxicabs.



A favorite parlor game among the anti-Uber is to find a problem a customer has had with Uber—invariably a problem that also exists with licensed cabs—and use it as evidence of why Uber drivers shouldn't be allowed  to compete with cabs. Take this list of 10 Uber driver scandals from Daily Dot—from shit drivers to the criminal kind, not one of those problems is one that doesn't exist in the licensed taxicab world. Complaints from economically illiterate neo-Luddites about Uber's surge pricing system—an algorithm that raises prices in an effort to get more drivers on the road when demand is up—are probably the only complaints about Uber that are actually specific to Uber.

But here's a problem, discovered by a Reddit user yesterday, that is exclusive to taxis; a fake cab. Gothamist reports

A Redditor believes he stumbled upon a fake cabbie ripping people's credit cards off with a skimmer this week. "I got into a normal NYC taxi today, but when it was time to pay, the driver took my card and swiped it through two different machines, stealing my info," he wrote. "Then I realized he wasn't even a real NYC taxi!"

The man was traveling in the cab from Tribeca to Union Square on Thursday when the incident happened. He only became clued in to the scam when the credit machine in the back wasn't working. "The swiper in the back was turned off and when he presented his, I instinctively gave him my card," he wrote. "It was when I saw him swipe it in TWO machines that I got nervous. And then, when he told me that the two machines 'work together' is when I started taking pictures." You can see more of his photos here.

This is a problem that does not exist in Uber because payment of Uber drivers happens through the app. Money never changes hands between driver and passenger. That means the driver can't steal credit card information. Almost as importantly, it means the driver can't raise prices discriminatorily. Cabbies, especially where meters are rare, tend to set prices based on how much they think a passenger belongs where he gets picked. And outsiders pay more. Unlike surge pricing, which kicks in based on volume and usage, the decision to charge someone more based on who they are and not the distance and time they're going is transparently discriminatory, and another problem that's not replicated on Uber.

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  2. I understand why taxi companies hate Uber… but what I don’t understand is why anyone would go along with them. Had a bad experience with Uber? Ok, don’t use it–their existence still serves to press taxis to be (hopefully) less shitty.

    Complaints from economically illiterate neo-Luddites about Uber’s surge pricing system

    Nicely put

    1. Boy, I hope Nick doesn’t see this!

      1. I must have missed something here…

  3. OT


    Yes. It’s true. In the meantime, I’d also like to live. Except, nobody wants to let me live–they all want to remind me of how I’m going to die, or how I’m going to cause my children to die.

    I was packing my kid’s lunch the other day, and tossed in a Twinkie with a smile and stroke of endearment, when I happened to glance at my kid’s class newsletter on the table. It informed me that if I feed my child Twinkies, I might as well be feeding him rocket fuel. Rocket fuel, sheet rock, and Twinkies are made out of the same things. If you consume rocket fuel, you are sheet rock and if you are sheet rock, you will die. I am killing my child.

  4. Extra OT: U.S. Forces Withdraw From Yemen in Face of Rising Sunni-Shia War

    U.S. troops were evacuating a southern Yemen air base Saturday after al-Qaeda seized a nearby town amid growing violence in the war-torn nation, multiple media outlets reported.

    Military forces, including commandos, were leaving the Al Anad air base near the southern city of al-Houta, the Associated Press, NBC News and CNN reported, citing unnamed officials. About 100 American troops and special forces units are stationed there.

    Late Saturday, the U.S. State Department said in a statement that it “has temporarily relocated its remaining personnel out of Yemen,” the Associated Press reported.

    The evacuation comes amid growing sectarian violence in the mostly Sunni nation under assault from Shiite rebels known as the Houthis, who are the sworn enemies of the Sunni al-Qaeda terrorists.

    Uh…Bush’s fault?

    1. Uh…Bush’s fault?

      Yes. Yemen was an amazing success six months ago (Obama said so!!!) and then Bush came around and fucked it up. It’s amazing how powerful Bush is.

      For the sarcasm impaired (just in case), I’m adding to what Mr. Coward (I’m assuming Mr. Coward is a he, since there are no female libertarians) said.

    2. the U.S. State Department said in a statement that it “has temporarily relocated its remaining personnel out of Yemen,”

      Define: temporarily (in this context..)

    3. How about they just split the country up again; get rid of the Arab nationalists, al Qaeda, and the socialists.

    4. I wonder if they will act out the plot of Rules of Engagement on the way out. So-so movie overall, but I thought the opening scenes from the Yemen evac were outstanding.

  5. Even terming them “neo-Luddites” gives them too much credit. They’re hand-wringing protectionists of the same mold from which sprang the original Luddites. There’s nothing novel or contemporary about their breed of mouthbreathing idiocy.

  6. I can’t just agree because I’m a Libertarian. I’m all for a free market but taxis and car services should be regulated to a certain extent. They have been over regulated thus far. The issue is not as simple as it seems. One might have that realization after their neighborhood’s parking spaces are all taken by Ubers and taxis.

    The consumer needs to accept personal responsibilty. In the case of a taxi in any major city their are conpicuous official markings to make the consumer aware that it is indeed a licensed taxi. New York in particular does a great job of this. The taxi in the photo is obviuosly at a glance not an official taxi. Their should be an oficial TLC license right in the center of that shot. The person riding in the cab should have got out of that cab immediately.

    Their are fake Uber’s too, unfortunately it’s not just a credit card number that gets stolen. It’s a physical assault, a robbery or a rape that occurs. It’s a lot easier to find a fake taxi because it’s a BRIGHT YELLOW FAKE TAXI….. A fake Uber is a plain four sedan. Good luck with that.

    1. Why would a “fake Uber” driver be more likely than a fake taxi driver, a real taxi driver, or a real Uber driver, or, hell, a random person, to rape you?

      1. Well… because… you know who else liked to use the word ?ber?

        1. Nietzsche?

        2. Burgermeister Meisterburger?

        3. August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben?

      2. I didn’t say anything about being “more likely”. Where I live in San Francisco people illegally hail Uber cars on the street (or mistakenly get into cars that they THINK are Uber) all the time. Especially when they’ve been drinking. People hailing down sedans has been a problem in SF, NY and London for a number of years. There’s a substantial number of news stories about women being sexually assaulted and people being assaulted or robbed in these vehicles. My point is that if an urbanite is paying any attention whatsoever they can recognize if a taxi is unlicensed and they should know better than to get into it. Unfortunately, people often don’t think about it or they’re too drunk to notice. At least a fake taxi has markings and is much easier to identify than a plain sedan.

        1. or mistakenly get into cars that they THINK are Uber

          And this is somehow Uber’s fault?

          1. Of course it is. If there wasn’t a real uber there couldn’t be a fake one, try to keep up. 😉

    2. How is it easier to fake an Uber? The app allocates you a driver, and you see the photograph of the driver, his/her name, and the license plate…

    3. A fake Uber is just a regular rando… Why would you get in their car?

      1. Because candy was offered?

      2. Please see my reply to Acosmist…

        1. Your reply makes no sense.

          Flagging down a random car is flagging down a random car, whether uber exists or not.

    4. Regulated cab drivers are some of the most dishonest people I’ve had to deal with with any regularity. Nobody ever seems to have problems when they use hacks or ubers, but the regulated cab drivers are always trying to swindle people.

  7. I can’t just agree because I’m a Libertarian. I’m all for a free market but taxis and car services should be regulated to a certain extent.

    They are regulated…by the market.

    Their are fake Uber’s too, unfortunately it’s not just a credit card number that gets stolen. It’s a physical assault, a robbery or a rape that occurs.

    [citation required]

    1. “They are regulated…by the market.”

      Ideally, yes. Unfortunately it’s not so easy. In the community that you live every business is regulated. I think a community has the right to regulate, through zoning and licensing local business and development. Do you really think that any business should be allowed to open up at any location and furthermore that those businesses can just have as many locations as they want? How many strip clubs, massage parlors and liquor stores would be too many for the block that you live on? Having asked that question let’s imagine what it would look like in San Francisco, Las Vegas or Manhattan if taxis were allowed open entry. It would be absolute chaos, app or no app. San Francisco is already trying to cope with keeping the roads clear in popular night life areas because Uber and Lyft cars are clogging the the space outside of clubs so badly that no one can get through. If someone wants to drive an Uber and make basically an unlivable wage after the cost of doing business, that’s their problem but taxis have had to pay cities for the rights to the road and for the cost of regulation. Uber shouldn’t be exempt from these costs which are now being passed onto the taxpayer. Uber is on corporate welfare, do the research yourself, it’s the biggest sham in decades.

      Here’s one of many citations,
      Beware of fake Uber drivers in Atlanta…../17499199/

      1. You certainly are not a libertarian. I think Uber and Taxi’s should have equal regulation. There should be no regulation. You seem to have a progressives view of market forces. The idea a street would be overrun with liquor stores without the benevolent government is the sort of economically illiterate nonsense one would expect from huffpo.

        1. I’m thinking this is that taxi industry flunkie who was here under a different name a while back. Beware.

      2. How many strip clubs, massage parlors and liquor stores would be too many for the block that you live on?

        More than the market can bear.

      3. Uber shouldn’t be exempt from these costs which are now being passed onto the taxpayer.

        You are right, but that has more to do with how road taxes are raised. It isnt an uber problem, its a problem that road taxes arent being properly allocated.

        Personally, I favor turning all streets (as opposed to roads, to make a proper distinction) over to the *OA (home owners association or business owners association or preferablly, mixed use owners association as zoning went away too).

        For those unfamiliar with the terms, a street is a destination, its where people live and work and shop. A road is a high speed means for connecting two separate places, like an interstate or a state highway.

        1. The private production of roads is possible if the state didn’t try and maintain it’s monopoly on them.

          Why shouldn’t the store owner choose whether or not they wish to put a meter in front of their store? If folks found out a store, or group of stores had some meter maids issuing fines for parking near their business….those individuals would probably go elsewher to get their coffee, meals, etc.

          Yet, folks are extorted to pay the salaries of meter maids, the road bureaucracy, the automated meter that requires you to get out of your car in the rain or snow, and go back to your car to put the ticket inside. So you not only have one chance to slip, but many.

          A store owner that has in and out type businesses will charge maybe nothing for the first 6 minutes, and $10 per minute afterwards. That would prevent folks from hogging the spot all day, while other customers wish to park, get their items and leave.

          How can a “crumbling infrastructure” be fixed without a pricing mechanism, voices of the consumers, and for it to operate efficiently and effectively through the latest technology and construction techniques when nothing is marked to market?
          They are still engaging in the same old shitty road construction to get the same or bigger budgets and don’t care for the consumer, congestion, or making the roads last longer because JoBZ!!!

      4. “How many strip clubs, massage parlors and liquor stores would be too many”

        We may need to develop a new form of mathematics to calculate a number that large.

      5. “taxis have had to pay cities for the rights to the road” and ordinary citizens aren’t purchasing this right when they pay the myriad of fees and taxes relates to their vehicles?

  8. FakeTaxi is much better than FakeUber.

    1. I don’t want your effing candy. Stop waving it at me when I pass by.!!

  9. Fwiw, DC (at least) has a snow surcharge that they can apply.

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