Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission is using GPS data collected in every cab to review millions of trips in New York City over the past 26 months and has discovered a huge number in which out-of-city rates, twice the rate charged for rides in the five boroughs, were improperly charged. The drivers' scheme, the commission says, involved 1.8 million rides and cost passengers an average of $4 to $5 extra per trip when drivers flipped switches on their meters that kicked in the higher rates, costing New York City riders a total of $8.3 million. Cab drivers are supposed to charge the higher rate only when they cross the border between New York City and Nassau or Westchester. 'We have not seen anything quite this pervasive,' said Matthew W. Daus, the taxi and limousine commissioner. 'It's very disturbing.' The taxi industry vigorously challenged the city's findings, saying it was unimaginable that such a pervasive problem could be the result of deliberate fraud. The commission says that 75% out of the city's 48,000 drivers had applied the higher rate at least once. Officials hope to roll out a short-term fix in two or three weeks in which an alert will appear on the backseat monitor when a cabbie activates the out-of-town rate."
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