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Taxi "Scam" from Midtown to LGA? (Hyatt Grand Central)

Taxi "Scam" from Midtown to LGA? (Hyatt Grand Central)

Old Apr 14, 11, 10:33 pm
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Taxi "Scam" from Midtown to LGA? (Hyatt Grand Central)

This has happened to me twice in the last two weeks in my visits to NYC.

Stayed at the Hyatt Grand Central. Getting a cab to LGA at about 7 a.m. The doorman asks where I am going. Tell him LGA. He doesn't take the first cab in the line but directs me to another cab which is not waiting in line, but at the curb slightly away from the entrance. As I am getting in, the driver gets out and talks to the doorman. I get in cab (with my bag in the back seat) and tell driver (when he gets back in) I want to go to LGA. He says that his meter is not working and that the fare would be $35. Okay, fine, I just want to get to the airport. The fare is approximately that anyway and I decide to give him that amount and not a penny more.

As I said, this exact same thing happend to me two weeks in a row from HGC. I don't think the driver was the same person, but I could be wrong.

Any idea why this is happening?
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Old Apr 14, 11, 10:48 pm
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Because the fare from the Grand Hyatt to LGA is not approximately $35. Next time, don't tell the doorman your destination: it's none of his business.
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Old Apr 14, 11, 10:51 pm
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Kick back to the doorman. Flights to airports are easy money for cabs. You are practically guaranteed a return fare. It's BS but it's also the way things work. In my experience you're getting a little ripped off on the fare. Usually it's about $24-28. Not like they're charging you double.
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Old Apr 15, 11, 12:22 am
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Which exit level of the GH is this, the 42nd st (ground level) or the Park Ave (upstairs level)? What time of day and day of week for each? Should be reported to management.
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Old Apr 15, 11, 4:08 am
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Are taxis (yellow cabs) permitted to be in service with inoperable meters?
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Old Apr 15, 11, 5:19 am
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
Which exit level of the GH is this, the 42nd st (ground level) or the Park Ave (upstairs level)? What time of day and day of week for each? Should be reported to management.
42nd Street and about 7 am both times. A Wednesday and a Thursday.

Originally Posted by nrr View Post
Are taxis (yellow cabs) permitted to be in service with inoperable meters?
I was wondering the same thing. I was thinking about calling 311 about that and other issues.
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Old Apr 15, 11, 5:39 am
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Originally Posted by armattheus View Post
Kick back to the doorman. Flights to airports are easy money for cabs. You are practically guaranteed a return fare. It's BS but it's also the way things work. In my experience you're getting a little ripped off on the fare. Usually it's about $24-28. Not like they're charging you double.
Also, if you had got stuck in traffic it could have been more as the meter just keeps running when you are stopped. You overpaid by maybe $10 (hopefully you did not tip) so its just another NYC lesson learned.
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Old Apr 15, 11, 6:21 am
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Not sure how angry you are but I would think this doorman scam should be escalated at the Grand Hyatt along with your comment that you may never return there again because of it.

Hail your own taxi next time. Perhaps he's not the only hotel doorman to participate in a lie with the cabbie in order to screw over the travelers.

Originally Posted by iluv2lfy
I was thinking about calling 311 about that and other issues.
Now THAT would be a waste of time.

Any idea why this is happening?
The doorman and the cabbie are corrupt as they hope that you and other travelers are stupid so they can milk you for all you have. Did you get the ID # of the taxi?

Originally Posted by guv1976
Next time, don't tell the doorman your destination: it's none of his business.
If the doorman sees luggage, he'll know that the destination is probably an airport or Penn Station. May not always be right but I bet the percentages are with that assumption. That's why I advise hailing one's own cab.

Make sure the meter is NOT running when entering the cab. If it is, get out.
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Old Apr 15, 11, 7:54 am
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The cabbie will give back ~5 to the doorman. Or at least when I worked valet in Seattle we would do that with the towncars. Although it was only $30 and the normal fare is 28. Most liked the idea of a towncar. The kettles especially.
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Old Apr 15, 11, 8:02 am
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Old Apr 15, 11, 8:32 am
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Sounds pretty dodgy to me. Did you end up using a toll tunnel or bridge. Hopefully not (most likely Queensboro/59th St) as it would have been an extra charge. I would have guessed without toll, the taxi would have been about $25-$28 depending on traffic.

If you wish to make a complaint, you would most likely be aided by the taxi #. Its the medallion on the taxi sign, as well as should be posted (with the driver's picture) inside the car on the plastic partition (usually behind the driver). Complaints should be filed at 311 TLC complaints website.

I hate that taxis (and likely this doorman) that take advantage of visitors to the city. Leaves a bad impression on the people who come to the city!

In the future, I would just grab the first in the queue, take note of the driver's taxi # (and name if possible).
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Old Apr 15, 11, 10:39 am
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Originally Posted by iluv2fly View Post
He says that his meter is not working and that the fare would be $35. Okay, fine, I just want to get to the airport. The fare is approximately that anyway and I decide to give him that amount and not a penny more.
As a reference point, I looked at my recent AmEx charges for rides between LGA and home, which is just about a mile due south of where you were. Assuming the driver took the Midtown Tunnel, the difference is even less than that.

28 rides, average $34.43, standard deviation $1.26.

That includes tip (I usually tip 20%) and the toll for the Midtown Tunnel. The lowest I've ever paid was $32.82.

Hope this helps frame your bid next time.
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Old Apr 15, 11, 5:42 pm
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Originally Posted by nrr View Post
Are taxis (yellow cabs) permitted to be in service with inoperable meters?
No:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/html/rules/rules.shtml

Chapter 54:

54-26 Vehicle Equipment – Taximeters

(1) Defective Condition. A Driver must not pick up or transport a Passenger when the Taximeter in his or her Taxicab is defective.
54-26(a)(1)

Fine: $50-$350 and/or suspension up to 30 days
Points: 1
Appearance REQUIRED
Also, if the meter were operable, iluv2fly could have gotten a receipt with the medallion number.

Would definitely escalate this to the Hyatt management as well. This is a ripoff that should not be perpetrated against visitors to our city.
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Old Apr 16, 11, 3:23 pm
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Originally Posted by dstan
Originally Posted by nrr View Post
Are taxis (yellow cabs) permitted to be in service with inoperable meters?
No:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/html/rules/rules.shtml

Chapter 54:

54-26 Vehicle Equipment – Taximeters

(1) Defective Condition. A Driver must not pick up or transport a Passenger when the Taximeter in his or her Taxicab is defective.
54-26(a)(1)

Fine: $50-$350 and/or suspension up to 30 days
Points: 1
Appearance REQUIRED
Also, if the meter were operable, iluv2fly could have gotten a receipt with the medallion number.

Would definitely escalate this to the Hyatt management as well. This is a ripoff that should not be perpetrated against visitors to our city.
Agree 100% about complaining to Hyatt. The cab company is probably the one getting ripped of for the most part rather than the passenger. But absolutely complain to Hyatt.
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Old Apr 16, 11, 3:49 pm
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the hotels role upsets me more than the taxi games, that is standard and there are signs and information on the rules if you look for them. The drivers comply quickly when called on the game ime, but the doorman is a "trusted" resource related to the hotel and they have responsibility for letting him line his pockets at your expense.

The doorman definitely got a kickback, the meter definitely needs to be running. It could be the taxi was heading in for the exchange (driver switch) about the time you were leaving and getting the fare, means the guy isn't driving to the drop with an empty car.

I would send an email to the hotel gm I expect you will get a response
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