Driving You Crazy: Mad taxis

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Some of the area’s most popular cab companies are overcharging customers, according to our hidden camera investigation.

We heard many stories about inconsistent cab fares throughout a month-long investigation. NEWS10 ABC went undercover to find out if consumers are protected.

Many people have criticized the unpredictable fares of Capital Region cabs.

“It’s either you don’t get to work, or you pay whatever it is,” Nicole Statini said.

“I’ve definitely had some mixed taxi experiences,” Jason Crawford said.

“It would cost too much money,” Everlina Ballard said.

Local cabs are meter-free and instead, governed by a map that explains what your rate will be.

Last June, lawmakers tapped CDTA to clean up the area’s patchwork of taxis, finding ways to improve and fielding customer complaints.

“In the next couple of months a common ordinance will be adopted by the major communities here in the Capital Region and there will be one set of rules and regulations that we can work towards,” Carm Basile, CEO of CDTA, said.

CDTA has been holding meetings with Capitaland Taxi and other local cab companies. NEWS10 ABC found some cab drivers and their dispatchers are not following the zone rates.

“Just Saturday night, I saw on the cab they have how much it’s supposed to cost. If you’re going this far it should be like $7 or $5 but it’s never once ever been that,” Emma said.

NEWS10 ABC took our cameras on four different cab rides, all between zones “A” and “E”.

For two people, the fare should be $8.25; however, the driver first says the cost is $10 then $9.25.

Our last cab ride was with Duffy’s, also owned by Capitaland, that’s when our $8 rate, mushroomed to $13.

We asked the driver to call dispatch and explain where he came up with $13.

“It’s both zones. $13 that’s the fare, gotta get both zones,” The dispatcher said.

Both zones, he says but that’s not how this works, according to our previous interview with CDTA.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re passing through another zone. It really just matters where you’re coming from and where you’re going. The one that is called out for that is whichever zone is higher,” Lauren Bailey, of CDTA, said.

An important detail that was dismissed by the cab company.

“If you’re going to read the map, read the map right,” the dispatcher said.

NEWS10ABC’s Rachel Yonkunas tells the dispatcher she’s reading the map right and talked to CDTA about the pricing.

“I’ll tell them that the price is $13,” the dispatcher told the driver.

Over the phone, the story changes with dispatch telling NEWS10 ABC the price came from their Capitaland Colonie office.

The dispatcher at the Colonie says they didn’t give that price.

“I told him the fare was $10.50 because I thought you were going from zone ‘B’ to zone ‘E’.”

After confronting the dispatcher that the price should be $9.50, there was radio silence before he hung up.

When we told people about this and showed them what their taxi rides *should have cost… they question… why hasn’t anything been done about this?

“I am absolutely sick of it and I’m looking forward to Uber coming to this area. Something needs to change,” Nicole said.

CDTA says a common ordinance will not be launched until at least 2018.

Learn more CDTA’s regional taxi service.

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