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Imagine being a taxi driver in New York City. It's raining, and you are approaching the end of your shift after a long, stressful day. A man with one pant leg completely covered in mud approaches the car. As he leans down to your window he blows smoke into your face from a large cigar. You smell alcohol on his breath as he tells you where he wants to go: a location 20 miles away. Accepting a fare from this passenger would not only cause you to arrive home late to your family, but your backseat would probably get muddy and smell like smoke the next day. What are the taxi driver rights in this situation, can they refuse a fare? Now imagine being the passenger in the scenario above. You had to attend a business dinner that evening, even though you were tired from a long day at work. The dinner ran late into the night as your boss continued to hand out cigars and buy drinks for everyone. You are anxious to get home. Just as you leave the restaurant, a truck drives through a puddle and splashes you with mud. Luckily, a taxi pulls up, and you ask for a ride. You know you must look and smell horrible; can a taxi driver refuse to take you?

Taxi Driver Rights

Can a taxi driver refuse to take you? Yes, he or she can if your behaviors or appearance meet specific criteria. In the situation above, the taxi driver does have the right to refuse to take the man if he refuses to stop smoking, and if there is no way to protect his backseat from the muddy pants. Taxi driver rights include not transporting passengers who do the following things:
  • Ask to be taken to a destination outside the driver's area of operation
  • Request a ride at the end of a driver's shift
  • Carry an object that is dirty, might damage the cab, or that would inconvenience other passengers
  • Hold an infant without a car seat
  • Refuse to stop eating, drinking alcohol, or smoking cigarettes
  • Appear incapable or unwilling to pay the fare
  • Act disruptively

Passenger Rights

Passengers, however, are not completely at the mercy of the driver. A person requesting to pay a fare has a right to reasonable expectations from the professional offering the service. In fact, there are some passenger rights that trump any of the taxi driver rights listed above. For example, a taxi driver cannot do the following:
  • Refuse to load your wheelchair if the cab is wheelchair accessible
  • Take a different route than you specify
  • Hide identity documents or the fare calculation device
  • Use offensive language
  • Refuse to adjust the heat or air conditioning or to turn the radio on or off

About American Risk Management, Inc.

American Risk Management, Inc. (ARM), along with its predecessor entities, has provided public auto business owners with coverage for their vehicles and operations since 1938. We provide coverage to taxis, sedans, limousines, ride-sharing vehicles, sightseeing tours, courtesy shuttles, school shuttles, last-mile delivery, and couriers across the Washington, D.C. metro area. Our expertise and experience in the commercial transportation industry allow us to provide our clients solutions that fit their unique risk profiles. To learn more about what we can offer you, call us today at (202) 547-8700.