Friday, January 8, 2016

Matthew Daus of Windels and Marx, An Apology To New York City Taxi Drivers Would Be Good For Your Soul

Hacking the facts: Commish's bogus fare-cheat claim defamed city cabbies

Taxi & Limousine Commission Chairman Matthew Daus leaves office this week the author of what will be an enduring urban legend: that New York taxi drivers stole $8 million from unwitting passengers.
They didn't. Nice work, Mr. Daus.
Daus, whose legacy includes having introduced annoying backseat TV screens and a credit card payment system that costs cabbies money every time it's used, claimed two weeks ago that he had discovered a massive scam: He had caught thousands of yellow cabbies red-handed. More than 35,000 hacks had at least once improperly charged the suburban rate when only the city rate was warranted.
"It's very disturbing," Daus said.
"Some of these people could face serious charges," chimed in Mayor Bloomberg.
How did Daus know? By analyzing the data from GPS devices that the TLC had demanded be installed in every cab. A careful look at the numbers, he said, proved that drivers had wrongly set the sophisticated new meter - another Daus innovation - to the suburban rate.
The notion seemed preposterous to us from the beginning. Sure, some cabbies were prone to cheat - but that many? Couldn't it have been an error? Where was the proof of fraud?
On Monday came a bit of truth from Daus before a City Council hearing: "It may have simply been a mistake by the driver," he conceded, and the number of cheats "is going to be a lot smaller" than the tens of thousands he initially pegged, and sometimes the wrong button was pressed but it didn't increase the fare.
Daus will no doubt make a good living for himself in the private sector, or wherever he lands. But where do the city's hardworking hacks go to get their reputations back?

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