Advocates for taxi drivers push 'Pay and Ride' campaign to avoid fare-beaters

Posted: Updated:

Some cab drivers are adopting a new way of doing business to avoid fare-beaters.

An initiative launched Wednesday that will have passengers pay before they get going, to make sure they don't skip out on the fare altogether.

David Billini says he has been dealing with fare-beaters since the very beginning of his career as a cab driver 13 years ago. "The first week, it happened to me, the very first week. So it's always been a problem," said Billini.

Billini estimates that he loses between $200 to $400 each year because of passengers who skip out on paying. The new initiative was launched to make sure drivers get the money they're owed.

The New York State Federation Of Taxi Drivers is urging livery cab drivers to make passengers pay before their rides start, not when they reach their destination.

Advocates say that's already the protocol on buses, subways and ride-sharing apps. Under the "Pay and Ride" campaign, when someone calls to book a car, the dispatcher will tell them how much the fare is.

Then drivers should require payment before hitting the road. The federation says the initiative is not only about money, but also safety. This comes in the wake of the arrest of Sandy de Jesus Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is a driver charged with stabbing a fare-beater. The city's Taxi and Limousine Commission responded to the effort saying, " We appreciate the group's advocacy of drivers."

However, TLC has no involvement in its implementation.

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