Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Don't Let The Blue Bugs Bite

We all know Penn Station is the #1 place to get a summons. Especially during pick-ups and drop-offs along Seventh Avenue between 34th and 31st Streets. I simply just avoid the whole area, unless a passenger is headed there, in which case I try to discharge inside the block of 33rd Street, as far from the intersections as possible, without making people walk too far to reach an entrance.

If discharging on Eighth Avenue, I beg them to let me pull over on the southern corner of 31st, not the north side. If I happen to be cruising downtown along Seventh, I go off-duty as soon as I approach 34th Street, and only come back on-duty after I've passed 31st Street. I'm legally not picking anyone up because I have personal business to attend to: not adding points to my vulnerable license.

Personally, I think all of us (cabbies) should pool our strength to let our voices be heard by the city, by boycotting Penn Station: "stop using our backs to carry your fiscal crisis." If a taxi is blocking traffic, by all means, let them have it. Otherwise, back off already, will you? Penn Station is becoming a beehive with perpetual swarms stinging our innocence. Cabbies are the yellow buzz that democratically and proactively carries economic pollen across town, not you (NYPD.)
I mentioned earlier that I absolutely do not engage in business on this stretch of Seventh and Eighth. I go off-duty and drive straight through without glancing at the sides. But last week I was whistled upon by the doorman at Hotel Penn and practically reeled in by road block. Being the plucky optimist that I am, I let down my guard and let two women in suits climb in. Destination: Javits Convention Center, a $5 westbound headache.

I carefully shifted across, lane by lane, using my right turn signal. I then sat behind two cars waiting to turn unto 31st Street. One made it through the heavily used crosswalk as the light turned red. Another light cycle went by and the next car made it over. At the third light cycle I was up to bat. I inched forward, ever so patiently, yet persistently. If you don't demonstrate a desire to turn, pedestrians will continue to cross, even after the light has turned red. As I made it over at the end of that cycle, a cop who had just finished ticketing cabs along 31st Street motioned me over to the curb: FAILURE TO YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS.

Here's an email excerpt from my passengers who witnessed it:
"Gil- we were in your taxi when you were pulled over by the cop on May
3rd at 8:30 am. We never felt unsafe while you were driving. Hopefully
this testimony will help you because we understand it was rush hour
and we would have waited forever for pedestrians to cross the sidewalk.
We had somewhere to go and you respected that. Good luck."


  1. Shit! how will your ticket count up render your license in the near future?

  2. Well, I'm confident that I'll have it dismissed in court. I called my police detective friend and he said that this type of ticket is very hard for a cop to prove to a judge. He said I should be fine if I fight it. Now that I'm a member of the Alliance, I get a discount for a lawyer. I'm not worried about it.

  3. well hopefully your lawyer will do a better job with it than mine did. I was so pissed about my failure to yield to peds ticket, on 24th making left on 3rd, the cops are never there anymore, but I still hardly ever go down 24th at 3rd anymore.

  4. the cops still pullover a few cars there from seeign something wrong with their left turns at 23rd though

  5. A couple of suggestions: if you must drop off a passenger on 7th Ave in front of Penn Station, don't drop them beside the taxi line between 33rd and 32nd Streets. Do it between 32nd and 31st Streets so as not to be "discharging a passenger in a moving lane". I got a ticket for that once (which I beat, but what a hassle).
    For my advice about how to beat a ticket, go to a post I wrote last August, aptly named "How To Beat A Ticket".