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Globe Investigation Exposes Cab Company Corruption

In a city like Boston where public transit shuts down before 1 a.m., cabs and students go hand in hand. But tipsy and tired in the backseat you may not realize your cab has circled the same block several times until you’re slapped with a bill three times the size it should be. As someone who has been both literally and figuratively “taken for a ride” by the cabbies of Boston, it’s easy to pass quick judgment on the drivers milking the last few dollars from my measly student budget.

But an extensive investigation by Globe Spotlight journalists revealed the Boston’s $1 billion taxi industry is ripe with corruption that allows fleet owners to get rich at the expense of the drivers. Systematic bribery and exploitation by way of bogus overcharges are only a few of the abuses drivers are forced to endure in order to protect their tenuous livelihood. At the mercy of a corrupt industry with little support from our elected officials or law enforcement it’s no wonder drivers have garnered such a surly reputation.

Classified as independent contractors, cab drivers are without claim to benefits, healthcare coverage, pensions, workman’s compensation or even paid vacations. The Globe reports:

“Today, behind the wheel of about half of Boston’s cabs are so-called shift drivers, who own neither the car nor its license. The shift drivers pay to work: a fixed fee of about $100 due after every 12-hour shift, not including gas and, in numerous cases, improper charges and illegal payoffs.”

The Globe Spotlight investigation has prompted city officials to finally address this routine abuse. On Monday Mayor Menino issued a statement pledging a comprehensive review of Boston’s taxi industry.

“We have real problems, and I’m very concerned about it,’’ Menino told the Globe. “We’re not going to tolerate this nonsense.” 

As students from the backseat of the cab all we see if the driver gabbing away on his cell phone, the driver that doesn’t know his way around Boston, the driver that tacks an extra fifteen bucks onto our bill. Considering the findings of this spotlight exposé it would appear that these drivers, so often the target of our dissatisfied indignation, are the real victims here.

Posted by on April 7, 2013. Filed under Around the Hub,Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.