Port Police put brakes on taxi hustling

Port Police put brakes on taxi hustling
Photo by Jeff Yapalater

The Port Authority Police at a LaGuardia announced tighter control over taxi hustlers illegally seeking fares at airports.

but the increase in enforcement is not directly tied to a gypsy cab driver who was allegedly seeking riders for fares at LaGuardia Airport and led Port Authority police on a chase through Terminal B.

Police claim the suspect, Marco Morales-Carillo tried to escape when spotted approaching possible riders fares jumped off the second-story departures roadway, landed on a parked car below and with Jason-Bourne–like agility recovered and climbed into an SUV driven away by his wife. They failed to escape having gotten stuck in traffic and were arrested by police.

According to Deputy Police Inspector O’Connor at LaGuardia Airport, this is one example of drivers trying to flag riders, while others are quietly looking to pick-up fares outside of the regulated taxi area line and others hang out in terminals seeking to solicit arriving passengers for transportation. These kind of activities will be cracked down at the airports said O’Connor. For-hire vehicle drivers who might pose a safety threat, not have insurance or overcharge riders are being scrutinized by the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), NYPD and the Port Authority Police who are increasing vigilance and arrests of those who break the airport law.

One example of enforcement is at JFK where law enforcement is working with airline terminals operators, Undercover TLC people dressed as a regular traveler approach a driver who has just let out a customer, and ask to be driven out of the airport. The drivers should be aware that picking up riders outside of the designated area or not having made a reservation beforehand, are subject to the car being seized, a hefty fine and possible legal issues.

O’Connor said that this business can be lucrative so the PAPD is working with the Queens District Attorney to formulate more severe financial penalties against for-hire services so that this practice will be reduced and this will send a message to others who may do the same thing.

He also said that some of the perpetrators are multiple offenders and need this message of no tolerance needs to taken seriously. In the case of Morales, he has been arrested four times before for trolling for fares.

Vigilance will also be increased at all Port Authority airports.