Two great things that should go great together, but has turned out to be a marriage made in hell. There’s a few things that you should know about using your credit/debit card in a yellow taxi in New York City.

In the general attitude and acceptance category, know that some drivers will not take too kindly to you paying with a card. It’s not that they have an aversion to plastic with magnetic strips on the back, but it’s simple economics: They don’t get paid right away when a customer uses a card. They’ve worked on cash fares and tips for so long, that it’s gonna take some time to break them in and have them join us in the 21st century.

It must have been the same way when cocktail waitresses and bartenders first switched over to accepting plastic. I’m sure a surly cocktail waitress dumped a beer on a customers head when she realized her after work drug binge was effectively shut down since her huge party of 20 was paying with plastic.

There’s been reports of cab drivers refusing to take plastic, which is breaking the rules of the TLC. Talking on a cellphone, even if it’s hands free is also breaking the rules and subject to fines. Smelling like baked zoo dirt should also be punishable by fines, if not mandatory bathing, but unfortunately it is not. The TLC has been employing the equivalent of secret shoppers since January in an effort to weed out the bad seeds:

That Cabbie Is A Cad

Two, you should also remember that the charge on your debit card doesn’t come up for several days. It doesn’t even get put on hold so for those that never balance their checkbook and have a weekend of heavy cab action, watch out, because come Wednesday or Thursday, mysterious (they’re not, it just seems mysterious in the moment) charges will appear on your account. If you did several trips, you could be looking at $100, especially if you live in Brooklyn.

So be careful and always get a receipt from the driver when you pay with a card, because the machine doesn’t issue them and if you leave anything in there, you can call 311 and they can contact the cabbie. Then again, if the cab driver was against you paying with a credit card and a small argument ensued, the chances of you getting back your lost item is quite small 😦


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