Getting information on cheating taxi drivers should soon be as easy as hailing a cab.
A proposed sweeping overhaul of the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s record-keeping and governance — sparked by a one-two punch of scandals involving cabdrivers overcharging riders — will land before the City Council tomorrow, The Post has learned.
The proposed legislation comes just weeks after The Post reported that drivers routinely bypass the shorter E-ZPass lanes at tollbooths, cheating taxpayers out of millions of dollars, and months after city officials revealed that thousands of cabbies deceptively charged riders the double-fare suburban rate inside city limits.
One bill would require the TLC to provide the number and type of complaints filed each month against drivers. The complaints would be broken down to include suburban-rate overcharges, instances in which cash-toll lanes and circuitous routes were taken to hike fares, and times that cabbies refused to accept credit and debit cards.
Many of these complaints are now lumped into a single category, making it hard to determine if there were trends upward or downward in certain areas, said council Transportation Committee Chairman James Vacca, who authored the four-bill package.
“We can see crime stats, building permits, but not complaints about cab service,” Vacca said. “It defies imagination.”
The proposed changes would also require the TLC to break down the types of summonses and other enforcement actions taken against drivers.
Both the complaints and enforcement stats would be reported online at the end of each month.
Another bill would demand that all medallion owners and technology contractors furnish the TLC with detailed information about every cab trip — such as which rates were used and how much the fare was — within seven days of a request, to make overcharge investigations move faster in the future.
In the case of the suburban-rate overcharge scam, taxi brass had complained that the businesses that keep such records were dragging their feet in giving data to investigators.
“We appreciate the bills’ emphasis on helping us to get the information we need from technology vendors so that we can effectively protect consumers. I look forward to working with Chairman Vacca,” said TLC chief David Yassky.
Also on the table is a provision that would make one of the nine TLC commissioners a licensed cab driver, satisfying a longstanding complaint by hacks that they are underrepresented on the board.
The driver will have to have at least a year’s experience or have been retired from driving within the past five years. As with all other commissioners, he or she will have to be approved by the council and mayor.
Finally, the proposed legislation would require every cab to post a warning about drivers using cash lanes at tolls instead of E-ZPass — a measure the TLC is already putting into place.
A hearing on the transparency measures will likely happen this month. Vacca said he thinks there is “strong support” for his bills.
Additional reporting by David Seifman